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Birth of surrogate child highlights difficulties with Indian surrogacy laws

21 February 2011
Appeared in BioNews 596

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. The clinic's actions have been questioned by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) as at present, gay or lesbian relationships are not recognised under Indian law.

Chairperson of the DCPCR, Amod Kanth, said: 'As the Indian laws are yet to approve of a gay marital relationship, the commission shows its grave concern over the issue as to whether the gay foreigner couple have the legal status to assign such surrogacy or having the legal status of adopting parents or otherwise'. Mr Kanth also stressed his concern for the rights and status of children born as a result of international surrogacy arrangements: 'The DCPCR views the entire episode seriously as the children are being taken out of the country (to Spain) amounting to an inter-country adoption'.

The DCPCR has requested Dr Anoop Gupta, Director of the Delhi IVF & Fertility Research Centre which was used by the Spanish couple, to explain the clinic's actions and procedures followed in this case. Dr Gupta is due to appear before the commission this week. The DCPCR has also notified the deputy commissioner of police, Central Adoption Resource Authority and National Commission for Women and Child Welfare. The extent to which these institutions will be involved is as yet unclear.

Dr Gupta has spoken publicly on this case saying, 'I think this feat is an important step towards realising the rights of the gay community because it gives hope to same sex couples to have children'.

The twins are with the surrogate at present, but are to be handed over to the commissioning couple shortly. This case has come at a time prior to major changes in the law. A Bill aimed at regulating reproductive technologies, including surrogacy arrangements, is currently making its way through the Indian parliament.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Questions raised over gay couple’s surrogate twins
Hindustan Times |  17 February 2011
Spanish gay couple's child dream comes true in India
Sify News, India |  16 February 2011
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