Possible legal change in India 

Surrogacy has hit the headlines again, with India on the verge of prohibiting foreign couples from engaging in surrogacy there.

Surrogacy laws have already been tightened significantly in India in recent years. At the moment, only heterosexual couples who have been married for at least 2 years can enter into a lawful surrogacy arrangement, meaning that single people, as well as same-sex, unmarried and newly-wed couples are excluded.

However, it appears that surrogacy in India will be restricted even further in the future. A few years ago, the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill was introduced, which seeks to regulate all forms of assisted reproduction including surrogacy. The most recent version of this can be found here. Significantly, the Bill states that surrogacy in India would be restricted to individuals with a link to India (i.e. overseas citizens of India, people of Indian origin, non-resident Indians and foreigners married to an Indian citizen), and that commercial surrogacy would be prohibited. A month ago, a petition was made to the Indian Supreme Court, which sought to challenge the government’s current approach to surrogacy. In particular, concerns were raised about the apparent lack of regulation of surrogacy in India. As part of the court proceedings, the Indian government had to reveal its policy in relation to surrogacy and its plans going forward. It said:

The government does not support commercial surrogacy and also the scope of surrogacy is limited to Indian married infertile couples only and not to the foreigners.”

What the Indian court or government will do next is unclear- we will need to wait for the Supreme Court’s judgment and further statements from the government.

If surrogacy in India is restricted to those with the requisite connection to India, this will mean that one of the most popular surrogacy destinations will no longer be available for the majority of UK citizens. There is therefore a risk that a black market will emerge or that individuals will be driven to new destinations, with even less security and support available to them.

If a couple have entered into an arrangement in India and their surrogate is already pregnant, it is hoped that appropriate transitional arrangements will be put in place to ensure parents’ and their children’s safety and security, and to enable them to return to their home country as soon and as easily as possible.

The current uncertain position in India, and the change in the law in other countries such as Thailand, highlight the need for the UK to reconsider its position in relation to surrogacy. At Brilliant Beginnings, we are pushing for legal reform in the UK, which will enable intended parents and surrogates to enter into responsible surrogacy arrangements in the UK (rather than abroad), and be protected and supported from the outset. For more information about our campaign work, click here, and to listen to Helen discussing these issues on BBC Newshour last Thursday, click here.

If you are affected by this and would like advice about your situation, you can contact us on 020 7050 6875.

What can you do?

We know that many of our clients are very concerned about the changes proposed, particularly those who have created embryos or are already committed to the process in India.  We have been given the following information about what you can do to support those campaigning to stop an immediate and outright ban:

Dear Friends

The Government of India wants to ban on foreigners travelling to India for Surrogacy. We are currently campaigning to STOP the ban coming in to force.  If changes are needed to the current system, we are calling for tighter regulations so that all surrogacy practices operate to a satisfactory and uniform standard thereby protecting all parties concerned. An outright ban is simply NOT the answer.

Here is how you can join the campaign to STOP the ban on Surrogacy for foreigners in India

1. Sign our I-petition.


2. Write to the Prime Minister of India (use the grievance category legal matters)


3. Forward this email to your friends, family and colleagues, asking for their support

4. Share the links on Facebook, Twitter, any social media you can.

We currently have nearly 700 signatures for our petition, but to make our voices heard, we need thousands more! All arguments MUST be submitted by 14th November, so we don’t have much time.