The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked a woman advocate, seeking judicial intervention for enactment of a law on the issue of surrogate motherhood and hiring of wombs in India, to instead approach the government.
A division bench of Chief Justice M.K. Sarma and Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed advocate Namita Roy to approach the ministries of social welfare and health to impress upon them the need to have valid laws, rules and regulation on the sensitive issue.
"It's a personal issue and the court cannot interfere," said the court, turning down the plea.
Roy in a public interest petition had alleged that many foreign nationals were hiring Indian women as surrogate mothers to use their wombs to have their babies conceived. After the birth, the foreigners take away the child to their respective countries, she told the court.
"The social issue involved here is that surrogacy in the absence of laws or regulations has become a free playing field for unscrupulous intermediaries who lure and push uneducated and poor women into the surrogate motherhood," said Roy in her petition.
She argued that there was every possibility of misuse of the children born out of surrogacy for terrorism, prostitution or unethical genetic engineering research as the foreigners who pay for the child would not have any emotional bonding with the kid.
She told the court that the 'surrogate motherhood business' has grown into a flourishing $4.5 million trade in India.
Most surrogate mothers in India are paid about $20,000 to bear the child whereas the cost of hiring a womb in Europe and the US was more than $50,000-70,000 dollars, said the petition.