Thursday, August 8, 2013

Is surrogacy for ALL foreigners in India dead? Surrogacy Bill latest

. . . according to the media articles in today's media. Ugh.

Article one mentioned the revised 2013 Surrogacy Bill, which bans homosexual couples and non-married couples. Even worse, the second article suggests there is a push from Ministry of Health surrogacy should only be given in the case one of the parents is of Indian origin.

If this is true, this is an incredibly sad day for infertile people worldwide, those that come after us, and for the families whose children were created through this once amazing process.

I am now working with clinics in Thailand which allow surrogacy for same sex couples and singles, if you want any information please email me while this option is still open to you. As with India, Thailand also has draft surrogacy laws to be heard by Parliament sometime next year. Please also drop into the Thailand Surrogacy forum - - it's under construction so please join and check back as I am working furiously to get this set up to provide information for all.

India’s draft surrogacy Bill bars homosexuals, live-in couples

Updated: Thu, Aug 08 2013. 01 02 AM IST
New Delhi: India’s long-awaited surrogacy Bill will disqualify homosexual couples, foreign single individuals and couples in live-in relationships from having children through surrogate mothers in India. The law also imposes age restrictions on surrogate mothers.
The proposed draft Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Bill—the first attempt by India to regulate commercial surrogacy—is likely to be presented to the cabinet on Thursday before being introduced in Parliament.
Critics said the strict norms of the proposed ART Bill will see the activity moving to more conducive destinations such as Thailand. Surrogacy is a method of reproduction where a woman—the surrogate—agrees to carry a pregnancy to term for a fee.
In January, the home ministry had barred homosexuals and foreign single individuals.
“I do not understand why the law has to be discriminatory towards unmarried foreigners when unmarried Indians are allowed this facility,” said Ritu Bakshi, chairperson of the International Fertility Centre in Delhi.
“It is fair to expect that surrogacy should be allowed in the country of the commissioning couple because citizenship of the child becomes an issue otherwise. Other than this, many restrictions imposed are not encouraging for business. A majority of our clients are from foreign countries. To expect this sector to not have commercial interest is na├»ve. Surrogacy is very expensive across the world,” she added.
The current version of the draft law has undergone several modifications after inputs from the law ministry and the ministry of external affairs after  recent  diplomatic  incidents.
“The sector is fraught with ethical and legal issues which the Bill seeks to address,” said R.S. Sharma, deputy director general and member secretary of the drafting committee of the proposed legislation, Indian Council of Medical Research( ICMR).
“In its current form, the Bill addresses all issues pertaining to ethics in commercial surrogacy. The health ministry’s mandate was very clear—this Bill is only to help infertile couples and should act as a deterrent to commercial surrogacy,” he said.
According to a 2012 study by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the sector is worth $2 billion, despite being completely unregulated. The CII study estimated that nearly 10,000 foreign couples visit India for reproductive services and nearly 30% are either single or homosexual.
In earlier versions—in 2008 and 2010—the ART Bill relied on contract law to establish a relationship between the commissioning parents and the clinic. In the current version, the Bill states that a professional surrogate will be hired by a government-recognized ART Bank and not private fertility clinics, the current practice.
The compensation, as per the 2013 draft, will be a private negotiation between the surrogate mother and commissioning parents.
“The IVF (in-vitro fertilization) clinics or ART banks will have no role to play in this contract. Currently, IVF clinics decide the amount and pay the surrogate mother a portion. This could be exploitative and so we have changed this provision,” Sharma said.

No surrogacy for foreigners: tough new rules planned

The directorate general of health services (DGHS) has proposed that the option of surrogacy should be available only to married, infertile couples of Indian origin.
The suggestions forwarded by DGHS Dr Jagdish Prasad to the department of health research rule out surrogacy options for foreigners, unless they are married to a person of Indian origin. The suggestions also say that a woman may become a surrogate mother only once in her lifetime.
The health ministry, which is engaged in a tussle with the Planning Commission on NGO consultations over a law to regulate the “infertility” industry, has circulated a cabinet note on the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Bill. The DGHS is an arm of the ministry.
According to a recent survey on surrogacy done by a Delhi-based NGO, foreigners made up 40 per cent of the clientele, and were inevitably those who paid the most. It is estimated that approximately 2,000 babies are born every year in India through commercial surrogacy. According to CII figures, surrogacy is a $ 2.3 billion industry in the country.
According to the NGO’s survey, surrogate women were forced to live in hostels away from their families for a few lakhs, a sum that they forfeited in case of complications or a miscarriage.
There were allegedly cases where more than one woman were made pregnant with a couple’s children to increase the chances of success. After a certain cut-off period, all but one were forced into a miscarriage without telling them.
The DGHS suggestions, coming on top of the health ministry’s disagreements with the Plan panel on whether and to what extent NGOs should be consulted, have further dimmed the chances of a Bill that has been in the works for over five years, making it to the cabinet anytime soon.
Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed said, “Organisations like SAMA have worked extensively in the field and have domain expertise.
We have decided to make a small core group of the commission to see how we can use that field knowledge to make valuable additions to the Bill.”
Sources said the ministry has been less than forthcoming in accepting the panel’s insistence on wider stakeholder consultations.
DGHS Prasad has also suggested that the potential surrogate mother would have to be aged between 25 and 35 years, and may not have more than two children of her own. The original note made surrogacy services available to individuals, which by extrapolation meant gay/lesbian couples could opt for it, but Prasad has suggested a far more narrow band of eligibility in which only married couples qualify.
ICMR deputy director general Dr R S Sharma, who is dealing with the ART Bill, said he had not received Prasad’s suggestions. “He has spoken to me on the issue but his written suggestions will come to me through the department of health research,” Sharma said.
Prasad declined to elaborate on his suggestions but said they were important to regulate the industry. “There is a lot of corruption right now, from the way women are exploited to how the babies are treated by the foreigners who take them. There is a need to make a foolproof law,” he said.


Crystal said...

I think we have all been reading the latest. I am hearing that this will not pass, and that it will not be an issue for married couples to pursue surrogacy.

Amani (Meg) said...

I really don't know .. I can't see them banning surrogacy for every foreigner unless there is one parent of Indian origin, but then again, that's exactly what happened in Armenia. I do believe the writing is on the wall for singles and same sex couples. The pressure from the NGOs has been phenomenal, though incredibly they seem to take Sama's research as authority - and they interviewed 12 surrogates! They were also caught outside SCI offering money to surrogates for interviews. In view of the hideous Delhi gang rape case, and general issues of women's rights in India, Indian Government's track record in protecting its women has been under the global spotlight, and has found to be very lacking. Indian Govt doesn't need that kind of poor publicity as it becomes a financial superpower and endeavours to enter the Western world of capitalism and excess.

Plus, those clients who have had issues with clinics, and complained to their embassy, has put pressure on the govt to enact the Bill as law ... India doesn't want to be in a diplomatic stoush with any country. Bravo to those that have bitched and whinged India is not like "home" and they had to pay $100 for a birth certificate that costs $1.50 and sold their "scurrilous" story to the media. You've helped "f" this up for everyone, but that's okay you've got your kid.

Anonymous said...

It's looking like I'll never be a father. I'm completely gutted. We were just about to start the process in January, when our clinic contacted us to tell us we would not be able to move forward due to the new visa rules.

Amani (Meg) said...

Anon, you won't be able to do surrogacy in India, but you have some very good options open for you to consider, Thailand has very good programs with a lot of success, there is always USA (expensive, not many of us can afford this), Mexico is opening up, I have a fair bit of information about this, but am not willing to work with any of the programs offered in Mexico right now as it is so new.

Please do not give up, you do have options.

andy said...

the worst thing about this is that its been a down packed business for many many years, it worked so well that it became Number 1 country for IPs dreams. and for no reason. things just changed, but as ive said before IPs will travel to the ends of the earth to find their dream.

jon said...

What Meg said. (biting my tongue)

The Khan baby arrival recently made this headlines for all of India and not in a positive way. Before that, the "issues" had been percolating for a long, long time as we all know of course. Groups like Delhi-based Rangana's CSR have been pushing secretly behind the scenes every opportunity they get and they are just within walking distance of the entire Indian govt so lobbying for them costs nothing and is very effective. Kumari is a femi-nazi, who loves the attention that this issue gives her (and grant $$$$?????), and refuses to see any other side. Sharma is a tool of the clinics, sorry to say that but it's true - don't believe a word he says. He's been completely wrong on everything. I think you can read between the lines as to his role in all of this. $$$

The overwhelming concern right now is the Indian clinics keeping the embryos and other genetic material hostage for gays/singles and also soon for married foreigners as well (yes, complete ban coming just a matter of time - this is UNDERSTOOD - people PLEASE WAKE UP AND SMELL THE MASALA CHAI!) Tell your clients to think long and hard before doing business in India - the rug can be pulled at any time. It is estimated there are tens of thousands of genetic material in all forms stored in India - God only knows where and what will happen to that material if a complete ban goes into place.

I am going to try to lobby the US govt to see if they can intervene and at least allow people to repatriate their paid-for genetic material, which currently the Indian govt doesn't allow. Will start a formal online petition and suggest everyone spreads the word. Keeping embryos or other genetic material in India right now is very dangerous and the potential for fraud is HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE!!!

Once again the Westerners are thrown under the bus and left holding the bag.

Amani (Meg) said...

My main concern now is how to get all the genetic material out. Sperm, fine it can be destroyed, embryos, they are precious. If there is anything any of us can hope for, or agitate for, it is getting those embryos released on humanitarian grounds. But who do you appeal to? Certainly not Sharma. Maybe DGHS? He wants to see the back of us all.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone confirm these stories? The draft legislation on the icmr website says

"Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder, assisted reproductive technology shall be available to all persons including single persons, married couples and unmarried couples."

What is this new bill and can any of these stories be verified?

rosie said...

So sad to read all this, we just got a bfp and its very early days for us but to read stuff like this adds additional stress to us , we had our cycle delayed due to the visa issue and are scared off all the issues now coming up its so insulting where the article says They think surrogates are exploited and foreigners aren't treating the babies right , to us our surrogate is an angel and any babies born will be treasured as after 18 yrs of waiting for them how could it be otherwise, i hope someone in power sees sense about this,

Rock and Ledge said...

At this point, regardless of whatever legislation passes, I think many foreigners' trust in the Indian gov't is irreparably broken.

This debate has gone on too long with far too many twists and turns. It gives the impression of being disorganized and fickle. Nobody wants to gamble with their hearts and leave their genetic material in the hands of people that are liable to change their minds again at any moment.

It all makes me very sad and angry, especially for the IP's stuck in a limbo with money and/or embryos invested in India.

Rhy and Drew said...

This is such awful news.