Maharashtra women opting for surrogacy to get 180 days leave

Activists and lawyers have expressed concern over the decision.

Mumbai: The state government has for the first time recognised surrogacy and granted childcare leave for 180 days to all women who opt to have a child through surrogacy. However, activists and lawyers have expressed their concern over the decision and point out that it could impact adoptions in the state. There is a provision of 90 days leave in case of adoptions at present.

A government resolution (GR) issued by the finance department said that women employees would be granted with childcare leave of up to 180 days in case of surrogacy.

“The employees should demand for leave in advance and submit proper documents of the surrogacy process like agreement, doctor’s certificate. The norms by Indian Council of Medical Research should be followed and a certificate from a gynaecologist is required. The leave is applicable from the birth of the child and can be availed only once. This leave is applicable only to women who have no children and are not opting for adoption,” the GR said.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) leader Kiran Moghe said that the decision was “promoting commercial surrogacy”. “The decision by the government seems to be promoting commercial surrogacy and not adoption.

Surrogacy is nothing but having a child of a particular genetic material. This is different from adoption and has no legal framework. The government of India had also proposed to ban surrogacy. So, it is surprising that the Maharashtra government is promoting surrogacy,” Ms Moghe said.

Womens rights activist and lawyer Flavia Agnes also questioned the protection of surrogate mothers. “It is unclear from the decision who is going to benefit. Usually, the doctors are the beneficiaries in surrogacy. The state government’s decision might sound very progressive, but there is no mention of protecting surrogate mothers who are exploited in the process most of the time,” she said.

Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe welcomed the decision but said there are bigger issues to be tackled in women welfare. “This decision might have come from a few pending cases before the government. But there are bigger issues like not having facilities for delivery, no institutional deliveries etc. Also, no maternity facilities are granted to women working in the unorganised sector. I feel the government should take a holistic approach towards women welfare,” Ms Gorhe said.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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