Commercial surrogacy is a booming industry in India and in recent years ranks of childless foreign couples looking for a low-cost, legally simple route to parenthood have been joined by gay couples and singles.
India was a popular destination for gay couples seeking children till the year 2011 when Indian decriminalised consensual sex between homosexuals.
However, in 2012, the rules were revised and reformulated for foreign couples. It said that foreign couples seeking to enter into a surrogacy arrangement in India must be a "man and woman (who) are duly married and the marriage should be sustained at least two years".
While the government has been pushing the country as a medical tourism destination, the issue of wealthy foreigners paying poor Indians to have babies has raised ethical concerns in many Indian minds. Hundreds of couples visit India every year to undergo IVF in Raipur.
More than 3,000 fertility clinics operate across India, and some can be quite flashy. Surrogacy Laws in India are also undergoing an immense change lately. The Union of India is taking steps to position India as a legally risk-free destination when it comes to international surrogacy arrangements.
The Indian Government is implementing legal mechanisms to ensure that the child born out of surrogacy arrangement in India would have a safe passage back home. Though such measures have affected few nationals, it could be considered legally safe in the long run for surrogacy in India.
The measures, circulated to Indian missions abroad in late 2012, which only came to light in the Indian media on Friday, mark the first step to the regulation of "surrogacy tourism" in India.
The cost factor has made India a favourite destination for medical tourism, especially the quest for a child. The low cost surrogacy has attracted lot of infertile couples from globe to India. Surrogacy in India is an attractive option for couples who wish to have their names on the birth certificate; want to have a professional or limited relationship with their surrogate, but have the benefit of excellent healthcare. Surrogates in India have no parental rights and cannot change their mind about handing over a child to the intended parents.
Dr Neeraj Pahlajani