The Union health ministry has banned the commercial surrogacy in India. The ministry has also prohibited import of ‘human embryo’ except for research purposes based on the guidelines to be issued by department of health research (DHR), an arm of the Union health ministry.
In a directive to the chief secretaries of all the states/administrators of Union territories, and principal secretaries/secretaries of health & family welfare department of all the states/Union territories, the DHR said, “In continuation of this department’s letter of even no. dated June 23, 2015 regarding the “Guidelines for Accreditation, Supervision and Regulation of ART Clinics in India”, this department has taken the policy decision, in consultation with various ministries/departments of the government, not to support commercial surrogacy”.
It further stated that till the enactment of “Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill”, which is under consideration of the DHR, the following instructions of this department will prevail and be applicable to surrogacy clinics/ART clinics/IVF clinics/genetic counseling centers/genetic laboratories/ART banks or such other clinical establishment of any kind offering surrogacy services/assisted reproduction services.
The DHR instructed that as per Union commerce ministry’s notification No.25/2015-2020, dated 26.10.2015, import of ‘Human Embryo’ is prohibited except for research purposes based on the guidelines to be issued by DHR. The guidelines of DHR for import of human embryo for research purposes will be issued separately and in due course of time after consultation with various ministries /departments of the Union government.
It further instructed that the surrogacy clinics/ART clinics/ IVF clinics/ any centre/genetic counselling centres/other clinical establishments, by whatsoever name they may be called, offering surrogacy services/assisted reproduction services will not import human embryo for offering surrogacy services or in connection thereto.
The DHR further instructed that the ministry of home affairs has now issued instructions vide their letter No. 25022/74/2011-F.l (Vol.III), dated 03.11.2015, addressed to all states/UTs/Indian Missions abroad, etc., that Indian Missions/ Posts/FRROs/FROs shall ensure that no visa should be issued by the Indian Missions/Posts to foreign nationals intending to visit India for commissioning surrogacy; and no permission should be granted by the Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs) / Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) to overseas citizen of India (OCI) cardholders to commission surrogacy in India.
No exit permission should be granted by the FRROs/FROs to the child/children to be born through surrogacy to foreign nationals including OCI cardholders. However, for child/children born through surrogacy already commissioned on or before issue of this circular, exit permission will be decided by FRROs/FROs on case-to-case basis.
Visa, if any, granted by the Indian Missions/Posts to foreign nationals and permission, if any, granted by the FRROs/FROs to OCI cardholders, for commissioning surrogacy in India, from the date of issue of this circular and date of receipt of the circular, may be cancelled and the applicants may be informed of the position immediately, the DHR said citing the home ministry instructions.
The above instructions contained in the ministry of home affairs circular dated 3.11.2015 may please be brought to the notice of the surrogacy clinics/ART clinics/IVF clinics/genetic counselling centres/genetic laboratories/ART banks or such other clinical establishment offering surrogacy services/assisted reproduction services in your respective state jurisdictions, the DHR directive to the states/UTs said.