Phoebe Buffay, Much?
So, Karan Johar recently had twins, didn't he? Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan also had boys. Cute, aren't they? Remember the problem media had with them? Apart from the Khans' babies being boys, by the way. Right. Surrogacy.
It has been a tricky and touchy subject in our country since forever. Here's the history of it, in case you've been living under a rock.
Pretty sure the sitcom introduced us to the term where our much loved Regina Phalange became a surrogate for her brother and sister-in-law and gave them, yes, triplets.
Infertility has been on the rise given the "holy" reasons no one knows about, and the cost of getting it treated is too much to take, even for the celebs. I guess. Anyway, so the nation was left with two options, Adoption and Surrogacy. And we all know how we're all crazy about having our "own" kids, aren't we? That's why, surrogacy.
Oh, it's always a but, isn't it? It's India. If ifs and buts didn't exist, we wouldn't be the nation we are right now. Anyway, surrogacy helped. A lot of people at that. And then, it became a business as big as human trafficking. Poor women "helped" the richer couples by donating them her uterus and soon enough, the pimps got a whiff of it and decided to put their bets, on the system and the women.
All did not go down well
The story is pretty much Bollywood-like here. Foreigners, rich people, almost everyone without a kid coming into the picture. Sometimes, taking the baby with them, sometimes getting cold feet, sometimes leaving the women without any money, and overall just harassing their bodies by making them go through all of this over and over again.
So, here's what happened...
There were FIRs lodged, cases filed and lost. And government finally decided it was time to come up with a "strict regulation policy." This means that one of you, or both of you need to be termed infertile, must've been married for more than 5 years, should've had an order of parentage issued from the court, and henceforth, have a certificate of eligibility issued. And yes, the certificate of parentage means that they'll get the custody of the child when it's born. I know, right? Easy peasy lemon squeezy, my friends!
As I was saying, there's more...
The couple needs to be of a certain age group, Indian residents and must've ruled out the other two options of having a child (natural and adoption). The "unable to have a child" document does not include the "But, I have a disabled kid" card. If you got one, you can't have another one. That's it. The couple is also supposed to sign a document that covers the expenses of the surrogate during pregnancy and provides an insurance cover for her.
Nope. Still not done...
The surrogate should be married, a close relative of the couple, mother of at least one kid and between the ages of 25 and 35. And of course, a woman can be a surrogate only once. All of these documents must be submitted to the authorities while applying, obviously.
So, I'm saying
Now, I understand that laws need to be strict when it comes to this. Because we're humans. We can colonize a country for over 200 years if trusted blindly, and this is about having a kid. But, here's the thing.
Why only married couples? What if a man or a woman never wants to marry (Yes. They exist.), and still have a kid through surrogacy?
Why do you have to be married for over 5 years to be "eligible" for this? I really don't think it takes 5 years for someone to figure out that they can't get pregnant. Am I right, couples? wink wink
Why only married surrogates? Why can't a single woman give birth to someone else's baby? Given that you've already canceled out all the other options of having anybody but a close relative do this for you.
Also, why does one have to rule out natural and adoptive methods before "applying" for surrogacy? Why can't it be the "to-be-parents'" choice?
And since there's so much focus on everyone being married, what if they get a divorce? Will you force them to not have a divorce? Or will you make a clause that they should have the custody figured out in case they do? You got them a letter of parentage, you can't take the kid away from them now.
And if you're okay with the divorce or the separation clause, that means you have to be okay with the single parenting clause too. Which also means, that 5 years of marriage can also not be accountable.
You see, kids are a tough choice, given the world we live in. But what's worse is when someone can't have them. Then why do you have to make it so difficult for them? Society does that already.
Imagine being an Indian wanting a kid through surrogacy. Ew, why don't you opt for adoption? Because, choice. Ew, surrogates. What if the woman ain't nice and all? Again, choice. Ew, you're so lucky. Don't have kids only na. And I hate to repeat but, choice.
You see, Monica and Chandler adopted, and you loved them. And Phoebe was a surrogate, you loved her too. All you need to do is support real people for the choices they make as much as you support these fictional characters. Also, there are a few bills in the parliament that already recognize how difficult these laws are, and are trying to tweak them a bit. You could support that too!
Remember, society sucks, but you don't have to.