Foreigners need proof of citizenship for surrogacy

Foreigners need proof of citizenship for surrogacy

If the Surrogacy Bill being drafted by the government is passed by Parliament, any foreign couple seeking a child to be born through surrogacy in India will have to first obtain a guarantee that the government of the country they reside in would allow them to take home the newborn.

The proposed legislation now being vetted by several ministries of the union government will make it mandatory for any foreign couple commissioning a surrogacy to obtain a written assurance from the government of the country of their residence or from that country’s embassy in India that the baby to be born would be permitted entry to their country as their biological child.

According to the draft Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, the couple will also have to furnish a certificate from the government of their country elucidating that it recognises surrogacy. The bill is being drafted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Law and Justice.

The move is to ensure the citizenship of the child to be born through surrogacy is intended to pre-empt legal complications after the birth of the baby. The need to legally ensure the child’s citizenship in the country his or her biological parents reside in was felt after the harrowing experience that a German couple and their twins born to a surrogate mother in India went through between 2008 and 2010.

Jan Balaz and Susan Anna Lohla had to fight a protracted legal battle as German Embassy in New Delhi refused to issue passports to their twins, Nikolas and Leonard, who were born to an Indian surrogate mother in Gujarat in January 2008. The embassy pointed out that German laws did not recognize surrogacy as a means of parenthood.