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Indian surrogacy is a hot media topic, with several stories over the past week about couples being stuck in India waiting for British passports for their biological children. As far as we are concerned, this isn’t really news – it is the shared experience of every British parent who has had a child through surrogacy in India, and something we deal with on a daily basis.
Following prominent Indian surrogacy stories in the Telegraph and Evening Standard, Natalie was interviewed on BBC Radio this afternoon to explain the law.
In the absence of regulation, a commercial surrogacy industry in India has boomed over the last few years, with many Indian fertility clinics now offering surrogacy packages to foreign intended parents at a cost of around £20,000. Indian law allows intended parents to enter into a binding contract with a surrogate mother, and Indian officials register the intended parents on the Indian birth certificate.
Sir Nicholas Wall, the President of the High Court Family Division, has made public his decision to give parenthood to the British parents of twins born through surrogacy in India. The President said the issues were of “considerable public importance” and he wished to endorse the previous judgments of Mr Justice Hedley in other similar cases.
A single piece of paper held the key to their lives, their future, and now it was being questioned.
As the couple and their two children lined up to clear immigration at the New Delhi airport last Saturday, they handed their documents to the officer — Canadian passports for themselves and their daughter, an entry visa for their son.
The next few hours were a blur as immigration officers examined the paper while others bombarded the couple with questions. Why didn’t the boy have a passport? Why just an entry visa? Who was he? Who, indeed.
The High Court has made an unprecedented order awarding parenthood to a deceased father of a baby boy born through surrogacy in India. A couple, known only as Mr and Mrs A, entered into a surrogacy arrangement and their son was born in India on 12 April 2010. But Mr A tragically contracted liver cancer during the course of the proceedings and died, leaving the High Court to make a landmark decision to award parenthood to the mother and her deceased husband.
Gay father Barrie Drewitt Barlow revealed how six gay couples are in a "huge panic" over India's recent ban of surrogacy to gay couples.
Mr Drewitt Barlow, who runs the British Surrogacy Centre with his partner Tony have said “embryos had been transferred to women acting as surrogate, but the men fear they will never see their children”.
India is to ban gay couples from using surrogate mothers. As part of reforms to the country’s surrogacy and fertility treatment laws, only heterosexual couples will be allowed to have children by surrogate.
The Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Regulation Bill 2010 was sent to the law ministry for approval this week. There is apparently nothing in the bill to stop a single gay man from having a surrogate baby, as single men and women will be eligible.