Indian Surrogacy Law Reform: Louisa Ghevaert interviewed by BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour
Head of Michelmores' Fertility and Parenting team, Louisa Ghevaert, joined the debate on Indian surrogacy law reform on BBC Woman's Hour on Tuesday 20 September 2016. The interview looked at the Indian surrogacy and fertility industry and proposed law changes.
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 was cleared by the Indian cabinet on 24 August 2016. The Bill seeks to ban commercial surrogacy, permitting only altruistic arrangements for childless heterosexual Indian couples who have been married for five years involving a surrogate who is a close family member.
This Bill follows an Indian directive on 3 November 2015 which banned foreigners from undertaking commercial surrogacy in India. Changes in Indian policy have impacted on the multi-million pound fertility sector in India which offered low cost treatment and a steady supply of surrogates attracting people from all over the world.
Changes in Indian policy has wide implications. It has closed the door leaving people part way through treatment, clinics without patients and childless people having to look elsewhere to build a much wanted family. It follows decisions by Thailand, Nepal and Mexico to outlaw commercial surrogacy due to concerns about exploitation and unregulated practices. Surrogacy expands the opportunity to build a family and brings benefits to those involved.
Surrogacy law and policy is a fast moving area. There is no international harmonisation and specialist legal advice is required to navigate the complex legal issues and provide a firm legal footing in the short, medium and longer terms to children and families created through assisted conception.