The new law on surrogacy that's currently being drafted will bar not just foreigners, but also Non-Resident Indians and Persons of Indian Origin from availing surrogacy facilities in India.
While the draft bill already bars foreigners, the version that will finally be tabled in Parliament will include Non-Resident Indians and PIOs as well. This was said by home ministry officials today following a consultation with the National Commission of Women.
Assisted reproductive technology - which includes in-vitro fertilization, artificial insemination and surrogacy -- is an unregulated sector that brings in Rs. 25 billion a year, much of it from fertility tourism. For at least four years, the government has not managed to bring in a law to regulate the growing sector.
The proposed law is another attempt at safeguarding the interests of surrogate mothers and their children from exploitation.
Surrogacy, where another woman carries the child after an in-vitro fertilization process, draws the most foreigners and NRIs since the process is not allowed everywhere abroad.
But the Indian law leaves room for commercialisation of the process, in which women from poor families are hired to carry the baby. For the parents living abroad, the process -- commonly referred to as renting a womb -- turns out to be financially viable.
As it is much known surrogacy has been disallowed for foreign nationals and even for people of Indian origin but holding a foreign citizenship. There seems no clear rationale in this decision and a lot of couples have been affected by this decision, which has been reasoned by the Indian Government to restrict commercialisation of surrogacy in India.
Firstly, couples who have earlier started the medical process for surrogacy and are having frozen embryos in India or have imported any genetic material can take advantage of this provision to complete their surrogacy arrangement.
Secondly, the appropriate authority that they are required to approach is the State Health Authority. The Notification has not been explicit about the authority, but it can be seen that the Notification has been addressed to Secretaries of Health and Family Welfare of all the State Governments. The Authorities would be required to submit with a legally drafted representation for them to consider and order on the same.
The Commission is hopeful that the bill can be introduced in Parliament early next year. It is also keen on ensuring that not just married women, but single, unmarried and divorced women will be included in the broader definition of who can be a surrogate.
The Indian government requires prospective surrogate parents to meet certain conditions to qualify for medical visas to come to India.
At a national consultation on the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, the NCW and Health Ministry were in agreement that there should be a blanket ban on NRIs, PIOs (Persons of Indian Origins) and foreign nationals to have children through surrogacy in India.
NCW Chairperson Lalita Kumaramangalam said Health Ministry has decided to finalize the bill on surrogacy-related issues by November 15.
The consultation was attended by officials from Home Ministry.
Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship by Children Born through Surrogacy Information from the U.S. Department of State website on regulations controlling whether a child born via ART/ surrogacy may or may not be a U.S. citizen can be found at “Important Information for U.S. Citizens Considering the Use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Abroad”
The process of getting an Indian visa generally takes up to three business days. In surrogacy cases, obtaining the Indian visa can take up to 2 weeks. Because this is a government of India process, the Embassy cannot say exactly how long it will take, or expedite the process. Your child cannot leave India without this visa.