Kriti Sanon was seen in her latest movie “Mimi” on Netflix portraying the concept of surrogacy, single motherhood, and adoption. As far as we have India in picture, a never-been-pregnant woman is not allowed to be a surrogate mother. However, Mimi a.k.a Kriti Sanon is shown to carry the child of the American Couple who comes to Rajasthan in 2013 choosing commercial surrogacy for their child.
In the movie, this rule is ignored to make it entertaining and Sanon, shown as a 25 year old dancer who wishes to go to Mumbai and become an actress, is chosen by the American Couple thinking that her dancing skills prove that she can carry a healthy baby. 6 months into the pregnancy when the couple finds out that the child could be suffering from Down’s Syndrome, the couple asks Sanon to abort the child. (Which didn’t happen and the couple decide to fly back leaving Kriti with a foreign child who might have down’s syndrome and the decision to terminate the pregnancy or keep the child)
Here are some facts about Surrogacy in India that could be controversial to what Mimi highlighted:
- In India, only married and previously pregnant women can act as surrogates. A previous history of pregnancy helps the surrogate maintain herself better and also helps with post-partum reactions.
- Commercial Surrogacy became legal in India in 2002. Despite its increasing importance, Commercial Surrogacy has largely been an unregulated industry in India for the past 2 decades. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill of 2019 aims to regulate this industry. It places a Ban on Commercial Surrogacy and allows altruistic surrogacy for infertile Indian couples.
- The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, however, allows Altruistic Surrogacy which involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
- It is permitted to couples only due to the following reasons: A) for intending couples who suffer from proven infertility B) not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation C) for any condition or disease specified through regulations D) not for commercial purposes
Facts about Surrogate Mother in India:
To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to be:
(i) a close relative of the intending couple;
(ii) a married woman having a child of her own;
(iii) 25 to 35 years old;
(iv) a surrogate only once in her lifetime; and
(v) possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy.
Further, the surrogate mother cannot provide her own gametes for surrogacy.
Surprising, but there are rules for Surrogacy Clinics as well. Such clinics cannot undertake surrogacy related procedures unless they are registered by the appropriate authority. Clinics must apply for registration within a period of 60 days from the date of appointment of the appropriate authority.
In the movie, Mimi, it’s highlighted how the American Couple request the abortion of the child when they discover he has down’s syndrome. In the new bill, it’s stated, “An abortion of the surrogate child requires the written consent of the surrogate mother and the authorization of the appropriate authority. This authorization must be compliant with the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. Further, the surrogate mother will have an option to withdraw from surrogacy before the embryo is implanted in her womb.”
It also states that if a couple abandons, exploits or disowns a surrogate child, they get a penalty for such offences as imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine up to 10 lakh rupees.
In all, we can say that Mimi touches the Indian hearts when the child becomes the responsibly of the surrogate mother who raised him and not the woman who left her child on the basis of “might have down’s syndrome”. No wonder what would have happened if the child actually had down’s syndrome.
We really wish the concept was explained to the Indian audience in a more compelling and authentic way. Let us know how you found the movie!