As per two independent studies conducted by reputed agencies forwarded to the Department of Health Research, around 2,000 foreign babies are born to Indian surrogates every year and the international surrogacy services are offered by nearly 3,000 such clinics operating across the country. However, health being a state subject, the Government of India has issued comprehensive technical guidelines to the state governments to regulate surrogacy in their respective states. Under these guidelines, the state governments have been asked to set up state accreditation authorities and appropriate authorities to regulate and ascertain the prevalence of surrogacy in their respective states.
The Department of Health Research has drafted a legislation to regulate Surrogacy, Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2015, which is under inter-ministerial consultation. Presently, National Guidelines for Accreditation, Supervision and Regulation of ART Clinics in India, 2005 issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to regulate Surrogacy are in-force. For preventing exploitation and misuse of technology, recently the Department of Health Research has issued instructions vide letter No. V. 25011/119/2015-HR dated 4th November, 2015 conveying the following:-
(a) Ministry of Commerce has issued notification banning the import of human embryos except for research purposes;
(b) Ministry of Home Affairs has issued directions to not grant visa/permission to foreign nationals (including OCI Cardholders) to visit India for commissioning Surrogacy.
In addition to the above, PC&PNDT Act 1994 and Medical Council of India’s guidelines also cover the unethical practices in Surrogacy.
The MoS (Health), Shri Shripad Yasso Naik stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today.