The Union Home Ministry in India issued stricter guidelines for those visas which are used by the foreign nationals interested in surrogacy. This is said to be the archetypical step by the Home Ministry to regulate surrogacy in India. The new guidelines indicated that single foreigners as well as the gay couples would not be eligible for having the Indian surrogate. Only those foreign man and woman, who are married for at least two years, would be granted the visas.
The Union Home Ministry stated that they had noticed a few foreign nationals visiting India for the purpose of surrogacy on their tourist visa, which is not appropriate. Back in July 2012, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had decided in the circular sent to foreign embassies that the foreigners were entitled to enter India for surrogacy only on their medical visas and no other kind of visas. Also, it was mandatory for the foreign nationals to fulfill a few criterions. The circular was notified on 17 December 2012 by the Foreign Regional Registration Office in Mumbai and was also sent to the fertility clinics.
The guidelines are issued when the legislation for regulating the fertility clinics is waiting for tabling in the Parliament. This legislation is called the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill 2010.
Conditions laid down by home ministry
Foreign couples who intended to have an Indian surrogate should provide a letter from the Foreign Ministry of their country or the embassy in India, certifying that the home country recognises surrogacy. This is important because a lot of countries such as Norway, Italy, France and Germany do not recognise surrogacy.
The letter which would be certified also needs to have an assurance that children or a child born from Indian surrogate would have the rights to enter the home country as a biological child. This was mainly essential because in the recent past, a lot of babies born from cross-border surrogacy were refused to be accepted as the biological child.
Norms of Home Ministry compatible with ICMR guidelines
The norms laid down by the Home Ministry are also compatible with the guidelines of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). ICMR only recognised man-woman marriages and not gay marriages. Additionally, the ICMR had encouraged various fertility clinics to get registered. The guidelines of Home Ministry made it obligatory for the foreign nationals to undertake the treatment from registered ART clinics which are recognised by ICMR.
What would happen with regulation of ART?
•Foreign nationals who wished to have a surrogate child should be on the medical visa.
•Only heterosexual couples would be eligible for this visa. This couple should have been married for two years.
•The foreign ministry of the home country or the embassy in India should certify recognizing surrogacy.
•Official assurance is required that child or the children would be allowed entering home country as the biological child of couple.
•The procedure of surrogacy should be done only at Assisted Reproductive Technology clinic which is recognised by ICMR.