Recent status of Commercial Surrogacy in India

Article posted by: office@indialawoffices.com

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Surrogacy, as we know is an arrangement of carrying a pregnancy for intended parents. Over a period of time this technique has gained pace and has become a blessing for childless parents to have children of their own.

Surrogacy in India:

In the year 2008, a surrogacy case came forward named as ‘The Manji case’ in which a baby Manji was born through surrogacy to a Japanese couple. The couple got separated before the birth of the child. The father was barred from taking the custody of the child as Indian Law bars single man from taking custody of a girl child and the Japanese Law did not recognize surrogacy. However the baby after that got the visa but the case underscored the need for a framework to regulate surrogacy in India. Therefore the above case can be said to be the genesis of the Assisted Reproductive Techniques (Regulation) Bill, 2014.

The existing rules state that any foreign couple seeking to enter into a surrogacy arrangement in India must be a ‘man or woman who are duly married and further the marriage should be sustained at least for two years’.

The number of foreign couples approaching India, looking for legal and uncomplicated methods of parenthood has risen in the recent years. The cost of surrogacy in India is generally $18000 to $30000 out of which the surrogate mother gets around $8000. One of the reasons for surrogacy being an easy process in India is poverty, as overseas couples find it very easy to rent a womb in India as many women earn a major part of their livelihood through surrogacy only.

The new guidelines issued by Indian Government for Commercial Surrogacy:

Saddened by the present situation, the Indian Government moved a petition in the year 2015 to ban commercial surrogacy, a service in India restricting it only to needy infertile Indian Couples. The research of the current conditions shows that one of the most disturbing reasons compelling a ban on commercial surrogacy is that many surrogate mothers do not have health insurance and are paid poorly.

The guidelines issued by the New Bill are as follows:

1. The Surrogacy Clinics, ART Clinics, IVF Clinics or any other clinical establishment, offering surrogacy services will not impose human embryo for offering surrogacy services or in connection thereto.

2. No visa should be issued by the Indian mission/ Posts to foreign nationals intending to visit India for commissioning surrogacy.

3. No permission should be granted by the Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRRO)/FRO to Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders to commission surrogacy in India.

4. No exit permission should be granted by the FRRO/FROs to the child/children born through surrogacy to foreign nationals including OCI cardholders. However, for child or children already born through surrogacy on or before the issue of this circular, the question of exit permission will be decoded by the FRRO/FRO on case to case basis.

5. Visa if granted after the issue of this circular may be cancelled and applicants may be informed of the position immediately.

6. If the clinics, prior to the issue of the circular, have already initiated any surrogacy process, they will be allowed to complete the processes already started to avoid medical complications. Though, all such cases will approach the state Health Authorities for permission. The State Health Authorities will decide such case on case basis.

Conclusion:

It can be said that this new guideline would have both positive and negative repercussions. It would be unfortunate for a multi-crore industry. As the circular states that if any surrogacy process has started before the circular is issued, in that case the parties would have to approach the State Health Authorities for permission after completion of the other formalities. Similarly it would create problem for the women who have already rented their womb as after the child is born it won’t be easy for them to get the exit permission. However, at the same time it will prevent the cases of trafficking, abandonment of children after birth through surrogacy by restricting it only to needy infertile parents.

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