Commercial surrogacy could soon be illegal in India

Health industry estimates put the size of India's surrogacy business at about Rs 900 crore

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Wednesday 28 October 2015

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Foreigners planning to come to India to get a womb on rent may soon be left disappointed. The Government of India, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, has mentioned that it does not support commercial surrogacy.

In the affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court of India, the government has claimed that it is planning to ban surrogate services for foreigners. The government said, “it does not support commercial surrogacy and it will be available only for Indian couples."

Reports suggest that foreigners find India a good option to achieve parenthood since the country has low-cost medical facilities, easy availability of women for renting their womb and virtually no law on the ground.

Health industry estimates put the size of India's surrogacy business at about Rs 900 crore, and growing at 20 per cent a year. But critics have said that lack of legislation governing surrogacy encourages "rent-a-womb" exploitation of young, poor Indian women. Generally, surrogate mothers mostly come from the poor socio-economic background and have no negotiating power in the business.

The government had also decided to withdraw its notification in 2013 that allowed free import of human embryo to India. It meant import of embryo for commercial surrogacy would be banned except for research purposes. It also suggested that if anyone wants to import the embryo, he will have to go through ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research).

The affidavit was filed in response to a PIL filed by advocate Jayashree Wad who had sought a direction from the Supreme Court to end commercial surrogacy.

Wad had requested the court to stay the 2013 notification, allowing import of human embryos and used by medical practitioners for surrogacy.

The government has responded to the call almost two weeks after the apex court had suggested the need for a law. The court has suggested banning import of human embryos.

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