Surrogacy in India has been a topic of legal scrutiny and evolving regulations in recent years. The legal landscape surrounding surrogacy in the country has undergone significant changes to address ethical concerns and protect the rights of all parties involved.
As of my knowledge cutoff in January 2022, surrogacy is legal in India but subject to certain regulations. India was once considered a global hub for commercial surrogacy due to its relatively lenient laws and lower costs compared to other countries. However, in 2015, the Indian government took steps to regulate surrogacy to prevent exploitation and unethical practices.
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, which replaced the earlier 2002 guidelines, aims to establish a comprehensive legal framework for surrogacy in India. The act outlines the conditions under which surrogacy is permitted and prohibits certain practices to safeguard the rights of surrogate mothers and intended parents.
Under the new regulations, commercial surrogacy is now illegal in India. The act allows altruistic surrogacy, where a woman can voluntarily act as a surrogate for a close relative, with no financial compensation involved except for medical expenses and reasonable pregnancy-related costs. This shift towards altruistic surrogacy is intended to prioritize the well-being of the surrogate mother and ensure that surrogacy is driven by a genuine desire to help close family members rather than for financial gain.
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, prohibits foreigners, non-resident Indians, and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) from seeking surrogacy services in India. Only Indian citizens can avail of surrogacy, and they must meet certain eligibility criteria, including a minimum five years of marriage and a doctor’s certificate confirming infertility.
The act also emphasizes the establishment of a National Surrogacy Board and State Surrogacy Boards to regulate and oversee surrogacy arrangements. These boards are tasked with granting certificates of eligibility to intending parents, ensuring the welfare of surrogate mothers, and addressing any disputes that may arise during the surrogacy process.
Altruistic surrogacy in India, as per the new regulations, involves a heterosexual married couple who have been childless for five years of their marriage contracting a ‘close relative’ as a surrogate. This legal framework seeks to maintain the familial and non-commercial nature of surrogacy arrangements.
It is important to note that the legal status of surrogacy can be subject to change, and readers are advised to check the latest updates on surrogacy regulations in India.
In conclusion, while surrogacy is legal in India, the practice has undergone significant legal changes to ensure ethical and transparent practices. Commercial surrogacy is now illegal, and the focus has shifted towards altruistic surrogacy involving close relatives. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, establishes a regulatory framework to protect the rights of all parties involved and to address ethical concerns surrounding surrogacy in the country.