NEW DELHI: Terming it “discrimination”, Delhi high court asked the Centre on Monday to explain why a single, unmarried woman was legally barred from opting for a surrogacy procedure to become a parent.
The court was hearing a plea filed by a 44-year-old unmarried woman who wished to have “a genetically related offspring via surrogacy” but needed donor eggs.She cited medical opinion that using her gamete could lead to medical complications for the child, including Down Syndrome.

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The petitioner also challenged the regulation that requires a single woman who lost her spouse or was divorced to use her eggs for a surrogacy procedure.
Referring to the definition of an “intending woman” under the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, the bench of Chief Justice S C Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula questioned the rationale behind associating the marital status of a woman with her eligibility to opt for surrogacy.

T Singhdev, appearing for the National Medical Commission, said he would examine the intricacies of the law and get back to the court.
The petitioner’s lawyer had told the court that his client was unable to get married early in her life and so wanted to become a biological mother through surrogacy, given her age. The woman’s brother has consented to donate gametes so that the child is “genetically connected”, the court was informed.

“What has come as an embargo to the petitioner are the provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, which prohibits the petitioner from having a child by way of surrogacy,” the petition states.
The petition argues that the restrictions on single, unmarried women “are highly irrational, unlawful, discriminatory and violative of the fundamental rights of the petitioner under articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution”.
The court scheduled the next hearing for October 31 after asking the woman’s counsel to cross the first legal threshold – of showing medical proof that her eggs can’t be used because that might compromise the fetus.


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