India bans commercial surrogacy and makes altruistic one accessible only for Indians

The Indian government approved The Surrogacy Bill, which bans commercial surrogacy in the country and allows altruistic surrogacy for Indian citizens only and only within the family (close relatives) of intended parents.

Only legally married couples, always citizens of India who permanently live in the country would be able to opt for children through surrogacy. It bars unmarried couples, single parents, live-in partners and homosexuals from opting for surrogacy, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who headed the Group of Ministers, which cleared the Bill said. Any couple who have already adopted a child cannot opt to have a second child through surrogacy.

The Bill has a provision for a jail term upto ten years and a fine of Rs 10 lakhs (around USD 15.000) for violations, such as abandoning the child by the surrogate and implementing commercial surrogacy instead of altruistic one.

A woman can be a surrogate mother, if she is Indian, officially married and has had at least one healthy child earlier. She can be a surrogate mother only once. Intended mother should be between 23 and 50 years in age and her husband should be between 26 and 55 years.

A surrogate child will have equal right as any other biological or adopted child over property.

The bill makes it mandatory for surrogacy clinics to maintain their record for 25 years to ensure that documents are made available in case of a legal dispute.

A National Surrogacy Board would be set up to regulate all altruistic surrogacy. The Board would be headed by the Health Minister of India.

The Bill will come up for consideration in Parliament during the Winter Session. Mrs. Swaraj said the new law will be notified 10 months after it is cleared by the two Houses to allow mothers who are already pregnant then to have a surrogate baby.


Information service