The Indian government has decided to revisit the home ministry ban on unmarried foreigners from entering the country to commission surrogate babies.
The home ministry had last July introduced a condition that entitled only heterosexual couples — married for at least two years — to get a medical visa for travel to India to commission surrogates.
The restriction was placed after instances of Germany and Japan refusing to give citizenship to infants born to surrogate mothers in India.
But the new rules — that also required the foreign government to promise to give such babies citizenship — barred single and gay foreigners from commissioning surrogacy.
“We are reconsidering the decision with respect to foreigners who are single,” a senior government official told HT.
Dr Anoop Gupta at the Delhi IVF & Fertility Research Centre said the relaxation would come as a big relief. “This is a very positive development,” he said, since, once the relaxation is notified, it would benefit foreigners who are gay too.
The visa restriction had hit gay couples hard, who were hoping to start a family.
Back home, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) — that doubles up as the department of medical research — too had opposed the visa restriction. “If they can be trusted with an Indian child, they can certainly be trusted with their own,” an ICMR official had argued earlier.