Gay foreigners can take home India-born babies

Aloke Tikku

New Delhi, March 19 -- Gay and single foreigners will be able to take their born-in-India babies home.

The home ministry has decided to let babies - commissioned by gay and single foreigners after a July 2012 ban - to leave the country when they are born this year. Only heterosexual married couples are eligible for a medical visa to travel to India to commission surrogacy under the new visa rule.

But realizing the urgency of the situation after a gay Australian couple came out with their story about hiring surrogate mother in India for their child, the home ministry has decided to revisit the issue.

"This is a special case.... Else we will be left with hundreds of parentless, stateless children. We can't open an orphanage for them," a senior home ministry official told HT.

The official said exit clearances would be given on a case-to-case basis after making sure that foreigners or clinics weren't abusing the relaxation.

Home ministry officials, however, insist they had already held extensive discussions for a year before imposing the bar.

They got working on the new rule after a couple of instances where countries such as Germany and Japan refused to give citizenship to infants born to surrogate mothers in India.

Commercial surrogacy is governed under a set of guidelines issued by the Indian Council for Medical Research but the guideline isn't enforced.

The government doesn't even have a clue about the number of Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinics that handle surrogacy cases.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.