Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



 

India limits surrogacy visas to married couples

21 January 2013

By Nishat Hyder

Appeared in BioNews 689

The Indian Home Ministry has issued strict visa guidelines making it more difficult for intended parents to obtain visas for entry to India for surrogacy arrangements.

Intended parents can no longer travel to India on a tourist visa for the purposes of entering into a surrogacy arrangement. Instead, they must apply for a specific 'medical' visa which has considerably stricter criteria.

Applications are restricted to heterosexual couples, married for at least two years. Applicants must also cite evidence that surrogacy is legal in their home country. Furthermore, they must demonstrate that their home country would recognise the child born of the surrogacy arrangement as their biological child.

This was deemed necessary after a number of cases where children born of surrogacy arrangements have been left 'stateless'. Some countries - including Norway, Germany and Italy - have prohibited surrogacy and therefore do not recognise a child born of cross-border surrogacy arrangements as a citizen and the legal child of the commissioning couple.

Foreign commissioning couples will also only be able to enter into surrogacy agreements at authorised fertility clinics registered with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Foreign embassies were informed of the new guidelines in a circular sent by the Ministry in July 2012. The Foreign Regional Registration Office was notified in December 2012 and fertility clinics across India were subsequently informed, explains the Times of India.

Significantly, the 'marriage' criterion excludes foreign single people and gay couples from entering into surrogacy agreements. Although India does not recognise gay marriage, before the new guidelines both single people and gay couples could enter into surrogacy agreements in India without bar.

Australian surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page has said that the impact of these guidelines – certainly for Australian intended parents – is not to be underestimated: 'I believe instead of about 200 children a year being born to Australian intended parents a year, it will be down to five or ten'.

The guidelines have been published amid an ongoing review of law and practice on assisted reproduction. In recent months the ICMR has been encouraging fertility clinics to register, and the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill 2010 is current awaiting debate in the Indian Parliament.

Amar Jesani of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics has criticised the Indian Government's approach: 'Surrogacy is a complex issue and the focus of the Government should be on protecting the poor Indian woman who rents out her womb. While such provisions might be important, we must ask why they dither over a bill to regulate the ART sector?'

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Gay Star News | 18 January 2013
 
BioEdge | 18 January 2013
 
ABC News | 15 January 2013
 
Radio Australia | 15 January 2013
 
Times of India | 18 January 2013
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

04 November 2013 - by Rebecca Carr 
A recent order from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has stipulated that foreign nationals seeking to enter India for the purposes of commissioning Indian surrogacy services must now apply for a medical visa to do so....
07 October 2013 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
I'm not sure how a television documentary manages to be saddening, heartwarming, uplifting and worrying all at the same time. BBC Four's House of Surrogates, which focused on one provider of paid-for surrogacy in India, where all the women acting as surrogates for one Gujarati clinic spent 'their pregnancy away from home in dorms', managed it...
29 July 2013 - by Ari Haque 
Indian surrogate mothers are frequently underpaid and insufficiently cared for, a report from an Indian charity claims. The Centre for Social Research in New Delhi says there is little protection for surrogates in a growing industry without an adequate legal framework...

06 June 2012 - by Jessica Ware 
Around half of the 2,000 babies born to surrogate mothers in India last year may have gone to British parents, an investigation by the Sunday Telegraph has revealed....
06 June 2012 - by Natalie Gamble 
Indian surrogacy is a hot media topic, with several stories over the past week about couples being stuck in India waiting for British passports for their biological children. As far as we are concerned, this isn't really news – it is the shared experience of every British parent who has had a child through surrogacy in India, and something we deal with on a daily basis....
05 March 2012 - by James Brooks 
The Court of Appeal in Rennes, France, has upheld an earlier decision to accord civil status – similar to nationality – to twins carried by a surrogate mother in India for a French couple...
12 December 2011 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
The UK's High Court has granted parental orders to a couple over two children born through an international surrogacy arrangement, ruling that payments made to the Indian surrogates were not 'disproportionate'...
21 February 2011 - by Nishat Hyder 
Uncertainty has arisen over the procedures followed by an Indian surrogacy clinic following the birth of twins to a gay couple from Spain. The couple used a donated egg, which was then artificially fertilised and implanted in a surrogate....

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation