|Pub. Info. – Rise of Twin Surrogate Motherhood in India : Legal and Heath Issues, by Sonali Kusum, Issue Date: March 2014, Posted On: 6/11/2014.
The unregulated commercial surrogacy of India has marked the emergence of a new trend in the Indian liberal surrogacy regime with the practice of Twiblings or twin siblings. Twiblings is deemed as the new feature or the unique selling point (USP) of India •s commercial and liberal surrogacy regime.
The term twiblings takes after the combination of two words twins and siblings , it refers to the process of hiring or availing the services of two surrogate mothers at the same time by the same intending couples for increasing or maximizing the chances of successful birth of more than one surrogate child at one single instance itself.
Presently in India, surrogacy remains outside the purview of any binding legislation or effective regulations and also outside the purview of any monitoring body and law enforcing agency, the law on surrogacy, the Assisted Reproductive Technologies ( Regulation) Bill 2010 drafted by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is lying in pendency and awaiting enforcement, the draft is being revised as the ART Bill 2013 with necessary regulatory measures to protect the interest of stakeholders. Meanwhile surrogacy in India is governed only by the individual surrogacy agreements entered by the parties namely the intending couples and the surrogate mothers . It must be noted that there is no uniform pattern of such surrogacy agreements and these surrogacy agreements are largely customized as per the personal preference of Intending couple catering to the personal interests and needs of the intending couples. The commercialization of surrogacy has caused surrogacy to be channelized as per the market techniques of demand and supply and to suit their client interests much to the disregard of law.
Though it is strictly prohibited under the ART Bill ( Section 34 ( 20), (21) ) which strictly prohibits the use of two surrogates at the same time by same intending couples as well as the simultaneous transfer of embryos in the two surrogate mothers at the same time. But the fact that the ART Bill is in pendency and not enforced has resulted in the frequency of this practice to appease the foreign intending couples.
It was recently reported that a British couples visited Mumbai , India in the year 2013, November and hired two surrogate mother simultaneously in order to have 4 surrogate children, this has given rise to the coining of new terminology twiblings or twins siblings , as a new feature of surrogacy in India (Bioedge, 2 Nov 2013 ) in this case 6 embryos were created and three embryos were implanted in two surrogate mothers respectively to increase the success rate of surrogacy and to ensure birth of more than one surrogate child as per the wishes of the intending couples.
Similarly, another case of another twibling in India was reported , a Canadian businesswoman from Toronto visited Anand in Gujarat in year 2012 and engaged two surrogate mothers at the same time in order to have twins both born of the same sample of sperms from her husband which was implanted in the womb of two surrogate mothers at the same time resulting the birth of surrogate twins or twiblings (localuknews.UK, October 28, 2013)
It has been found that Twiblings is associated with the practice of multiple embryo transfers or multiple pregnancies among surrogate mothers which are highly dangerous to the health of surrogate mothers. Multiple pregnancies are linked to increasing the complications for the surrogate mother including late miscarriage, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia and other ill health conditions as well as the surrogate child is also exposed to a range of health risks including stillbirth, neonatal death and disability for the child (BBC Asian Network, 28 October 2013 )
Health professionals have raised questions over this trend as it involves serious health impairment and risks associated with multiple pregnancies which can even lead to death or maternal mortality of the surrogate mothers.
Many nations strictly prohibit multiple embryo transfer under their respective laws and regulations , in many surrogacy legislation or regulations , UK under Human Fertilization and Embryology Act 2008 bans twiblings.