07/17/2019, 14.20
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India, a Catholic doctor: Any form of surrogacy is a moral offense

by Nirmala Carvalho

Norm allows married Indian couples to use a surrogate mother passes in the lower house of parliament.  Thanks to the low costs of artificial insemination techniques, the country has become the world capital of wombs for rent.


Mumbai (AsiaNews) - All forms of surrogacy "are a moral offense" states Dr.  Pascoal Carvalho, a doctor from Mumbai and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.  Thus he rejects the law presented two days ago in Parliament, which allows in vitro fertilization and recourse to surrogacy for "altruistic purposes", ie non-commercial.

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2019 was presented in the Lok Sabha [Lower House of the Indian Parliament, ed.] On July 15th.  This is the updated version of the law approved in December 2018 by the same Chamber, but held in Parliament due to lack of consent.  The law places a series of limits on the so-called "womb for rent" practice, of which India has become the world capital.

In detail, it provides that only Indian couples who have been married for at least five years will have recourse to assisted reproduction;  the mother "for rent" will not be able to receive compensation, she must be a relative of the couple and offer her womb in altruistic form;  singles, foreigners and homosexuals are excluded from the possibility of resorting to subrogation of maternity.

Among the novelties of the law, there is the prohibition of abandoning the child for couples applying for artificial insemination;  the pregnant woman who carries out the pregnancy must be married, have already had a child and be aged between 25 and 35;  the male partner of the couple must be between 26 and 55, while the wife between 23 and 50.

In India the commodification of the female body has created a thriving market, favored by the limited costs of pregnancies (from 18 to 30 thousand dollars, one third of the price in the USA) compared to Western countries.  For this reason the country has become a preferred destination for medical tourism, in particular for in vitro treatments or surrogacy.

Dr.  Carvalho explains that "altruistic subrogation is a surrogacy agreement in which the woman carries on the pregnancy as an act of generosity and does not receive financial compensation, to the exclusion of the necessary medical expenses.  As in any contract of subrogation, the woman carries in her womb a fertilized child in vitro through artificial insemination and then donates the child to the designated parents ".  According to the doctor, "it is important to understand that both commercial and altruistic surrogacy require the use of tube insemination, therefore all forms of surrogacy are a moral offense".

Even if the woman offers her uterus for free, "however it is a tragic abuse of the natural reproductive process".  The practice of wombs for rent, he adds, "is the greatest ethical challenge to the Magisterium of the Church waged by the distorted culture of modern society". 

According to the Indian doctor, "among the greatest threats to the family and to life, is posed by the unlimited power of science, technological research and [scientific] progress without respect for life;  abortion, divorce and assisted reproduction technologies;  cloning, stem cell research, maternity surrogacy, euthanasia and all ethical and biomedical issues ". 

Finally he concludes: "Faced with these enormous ethical challenges, the Catholic Church in India is a defender of the culture of life".

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