Friday, April 26, 2013

Visa/Singles - latest from Indian Govt

From Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament) 23 April, 2013

What this means for those in treatment, with treatment on hold, with frozen embryos/sperm ... not much

No cut-off date is mentioned, only "shortly"

But it's something official at last, and something in writing.

When this will be communicated to Ministry of External Affairs, which will issue a directive to Indian Missions to grant medical visa to singles ... God only knows.


GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF  HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE
RAJYA SABHA
QUESTION NO  3174
ANSWERED ON  23.04.2013


3174SHRI T.K. RANGARAJAN
Will the Minister of HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE be pleased to satate :-
3174. SHRI T.K. RANGARAJAN:

Will the Minister of HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE be pleased to state:

(a) whether changes have been proposed in the surrogacy laws;

(b) if so, the details thereof;

(c) the date from which the changes will come into effect; and

(d) whether the changes will affect surrogacy arrangements made by surrogate
mothers who conceived before the proposed changes?
ANSWER
ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND FAMILY WELFARE
(SHRI ABU HASEM KHAN CHOUDHURY)

(a) to (d) There is no surrogacy law in the country. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued two notifications vide their letters No. F. No. 25022/74/2011-F.I dated 9th July, 2012 and 7th March, 2013. The Ministry of External Affairs has been requested to issue the medical visa instead of Tourist Visa to the foreign nationals visiting India for commissioning surrogacy vide order dated 7.03.2013.

Keeping in view the humanitarian issues involved, directives have been issued that in cases, where the child/children has already been born through commissioning of surrogacy or the birth of the child/children is/are expected shortly, the Indian Missions/Posts may consider grant of medical Visa(up to 3 months) to foreign nationals involved in such cases on production of a letter from the ART clinic concerned certifying the status of the child/children i.e. whether actually born and kept in the hospital/clinic or if not born, the expected date of delivery of the child/children. 

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Meg,

I don't see any possible connection between this statement and a change in policy for gays/singles/de facto couples. I think it's worthy of you to provide this information to keep people abreast of things but I would also be very careful not to provide any false optimism to people who currently don't qualify for medical visas and who don't have active pregnancies. I'm not saying that you are doing that but some, out of desperation for any glimmer of hope, could misconstrue your words as an endorsement.
Although your clinic may be acting responsibly with taking on new patients the truth is there are lots of shady and unethical clinics right now that are giving misinformation to prospective clients who don't qualify for medical visas.

Anonymous said...

An important post Meg. We've learnt something like this from media and other reports. There has obviously been some relaxation in the application of rules given the realities of commissioning parents caught mid-stream in surrogate birth/IVF treatment procedures. The fact that questions have been raised in the Upper House is indicative of the importance and sensitvity of the issue in India. We still need to wait to see whether rules will be relaxed to permit foreign IP's that do not meet the het-two-year marriage criterion. The ICMR guidelines suggest yes. But there is limited indication of this so far from official sources. Very unfair ! There are so many wonderful couples out there that will make absolutely great parents that do not meet this restrictive category.

Anonymous said...

Meg, I only just found out about the change in VISA rules. My situation is that my wife and I had traveled to India under a tourist VISA on Nov, 2012 when I deposited a semen sample for freezing at the clinic.

Now it appears that you are not permitted to deposit any samples under the tourist VISA. We will be picking up our twins in Jan, 2014 and will obviously apply for a Medical Visa as per the new directive from the Indian Government. Will I be in trouble because I deposited my semen sample under a tourist Visa even though the recent rule change was not in effect at the time?

Who would you recommend I contact to try and clarify this situation? Thanks for an excellent and informative blog!

Amani (Meg) said...

I don't think you can get clarity, but from my experience, you will not have any trouble with your twins coming home. You will need to apply for a medical visa to enter India, and register with FRRO when you get to India. If there was no requirement for you to travel on a medical visa at the time you left sperm samples, then what can you do? FRRO isn't exactly going to keep your babies and stick them in an orphanage. The main people affected by the visa changes, singles, have to travel to India on a tourist visa as they won't get a medical visa, and all cases I am aware of have gone through.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply Meg. Sounds reasonable...let's hope the FRRO is reasonable too :-).

Also, do you know whether a simply copy of the contract between us and the surrogate would suffice when applying for a medical visa? The government website mentions a "duly notarized agreement", but I'm not sure what that is supposed to be. We have the original agreement which was signed between us and the surrogate mother with 2 witnesses. Would a copy of this suffice or do I need something more?

I'm a bit nervous about the Medical Visa application and want to ensure that everything goes through smoothly. Thanks!

PS - Sorry if this is a duplicate post. Wasn't sure if the previous one went through.