Is Surrogacy Covered under Health Insurance? Read On


Is Surrogacy Covered under Health Insurance? Read On

Parenthood is a life-changing experience. The everlastingly rewarding journey, however, can be a little complicated for many. The harrow and anxiety of not being able to satisfy one’s wish of becoming a parent can be boundless. Until a few years ago, the probable answer for a childless couple was adoption. Thanks to the advances in the field of medical sciences, especially in artificial human regenerative innovations (ART), have been nothing less than a blessing for many. Among many other techniques, surrogacy has become quite popular.

If you or someone you know is planning to have a baby via surrogate, it is essential to be aware of a number of things. Read on as we discuss surrogacy and its coverage under health insurance in India.

What is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy literally means a woman performing an act, on behalf of another woman. Surrogate pregnancy is when a woman is appointed to become pregnant. Once the baby is delivered, it is transferred to the couple physically and legally. It is generally done when a couple or one of the partners is medically unfit/ unable to conceive/ produce a baby.

Let us take a look at the types of surrogacy

1. Traditional Surrogacy

Under the concept of traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is the biological mother of the baby. Here, the prospective surrogate is inseminated artificially with the sperm of the intended father. Once she delivers the baby, the baby is handed over to the intended parents.

2. Gestational Surrogacy  

In gestational surrogacy, the sperm and the egg belong to the intended couple. The embryo is medically implanted into the surrogate mother. There may be no genetic relationship between the surrogate mother and the child.

The classification of surrogacy can also be done on the basis of financial compensation. In an altruistic surrogacy, there is no monetary compensation given to the surrogate mother. Mostly seen between close friends and relatives, here, the medical expenses may or may not be borne by the intended parents. In the case of commercial surrogacy, the surrogacy cost is payable. Along with the medical expenses, compensation is paid to the surrogate mother.

Surrogacy in India

Surrogacy in India is not a new concept. While there have been far too many examples of surrogate mothers in Hindu mythology, the first successful delivery in the year 1978 in India, gave many childless couples the hope of fulfilling their dream of having their own baby. While commercial surrogacy was declared legal, the absence of any specific bill or explicit rules brought a sudden increase in uncontrolled surrogacy. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, of 2016, brought a number of changes in the way surrogate pregnancy was carried out in the country.

Surrogacy under Health Insurance in India

Some provisions in the Surrogacy Regulation Act 2021 were brought into effect on January 25, 2022, by the Insurance regulator IRDAI. According to the new guidelines, couples who intend to opt for gestational surrogacy have to mandatorily opt for health insurance for the surrogate mother apart from bearing the surrogacy cost. The coverage that is to be provided by all IRDAI-recognised general health insurance companies should cover the surrogate for 3 years/ 36 months.

The coverage should be sufficient to cover the medical expenses that may arise in case of any pregnancy-related or postpartum delivery issues.

As per the norms of the Surrogacy Regulation Act 2021, opting for an insurance policy means getting into an arrangement with the insurer to provide coverage for any of the medical expenditure for the intending couple or an individual towards surrogacy, which include the following:

1. Health complications

2. Illness or even death of the surrogate mother 

3. Specified loss

4. Any other prescribed medical expenses that are incurred on the surrogate mother during the surrogacy.

The provisions have been made to streamline and improve surrogate pregnancy in India. With the aim to ensure the physical and mental well-being of the surrogate, it is hoped that mandatory insurance coverage will help in managing the health risks of surrogacy. Being regarded as a positive step, the regulatory body mentioned that the changes are in line with the changing needs of society. There has been a steady growth in the demand for surrogate mothers.

Surrogacy:  A Few Things to Keep in Mind

1. Surrogacy attempts on a surrogate mother cannot be more than 3 times.

2. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, of 1971 allows a surrogate to terminate the pregnancy in case there are any kind of medical complications.

3. A surrogacy centre or clinic must submit an application along with a non-refundable INR 2 lakh fee.

Facilities that come under the government are not liable to pay this fee.

5. All surrogacy clinics need to have on their roll, at least one:

  • Gynaecologist
  • Anaesthetist
  • Embryologist 
  • Counsellor

Journey Starts with Finding a Surrogate

While the option of surrogacy has been a blessing for many childless couples, finding a surrogate can be   trickier than it may seem. Keeping a few important things in mind can help you make a well-informed decision.

1. Make Sure You’re Ready

Having a child is life-altering. Make sure you are ready to make this commitment. Surrogacy can be a long and often stressful process, for the intended couple. Make sure you are mentally ready to go through it. You can seek guidance from friends or family members who have undergone this process.

2. Surrogacy can be Emotionally Tough for the Intended Couple

Despite being a commonly heard phenomenon, surrogacy in India is still not considered to be a normal thing. There are many who consider it to be an unethical form of childbirth. For both the surrogate and the intended parents, surrogacy can be emotionally tough as it may bring with it criticism as well as embarrassment.

There are also some emotional risks that are associated with surrogacy. A surrogate may find it difficult to give up the baby. The intended couple might have different expectations about the surrogate's appearance.

3. Be aware of the Health Risks of Surrogacy

While each pregnancy has its own journey, there are some risks that may be attached to surrogacy. The health of the surrogate will greatly determine the health of the baby. It is important to ensure that the surrogate does not suffer from any major health issues. Hence, getting some basic health check-ups done is recommended.

4. Plan the Finances for the Surrogacy Costs

Surrogacy can be heavy on the pocket. Make sure you have a fair estimate of the surrogate mother's cost in India. Also, keep in mind the surrogacy cost may vary from state to state or individual to individual. Apart from the compensation to the surrogate, there are a number of expenses that you may have to bear. Doing your research will help you be aware of the financial aspect of surrogacy, and, thus, proceed wisely.

>> Also Read: Story Behind Health Insurance Evolution in India

Do Your Part & Decide Wisely!

Having a baby via surrogate can be a dream come true for many. However, you need to remember that it is a long process and can often be emotionally overwhelming. Make sure you consult a good physician as well as a psychologist when making such a life-changing decision. Also, you can confirm with your insurer whether they are covering the health risks of surrogacy or not. For a smooth claim experience, you can get in touch with our customer care executives anytime and seek help in answering all your queries.

Disclaimer: Plan features, benefits, coverage, and underwriting of claims are subject to policy terms and conditions. Please refer to the brochure, sales prospectus, and policy documents carefully.

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