India to Regulate 'surrogacy Tourism'

MUMBAI, July 31 (UPI) — India says it will introduce laws to regulate the lucrative “surrogacy tourism” practice of Indian women bearing children on behalf of childless Westerners.

Being surrogate mothers offers financial freedom for many Indian women, often allowing them to escape India’s slums and move into better housing with the proceeds gained from surrogate pregnancies, The Guardian reported Friday.

Since the practice was legalized in 2002, India has become a world center of “surrogacy tourism”.

A relative lack of red tape and prices a quarter of those in the United States or Europe bring thousands of childless couples to Indian clinics to be matched with surrogate mothers.

Indian experts predict the business will generate $2.3billion annually by 2012.

Now India has proposed measures to bring supervision to a largely unregulated practice, the report said.

One measure will require prospective parents prove infants born to a surrogate mother will have automatic citizenship in their home countries to avoid messy legal battles.

A second will stop clinics that perform the clinical procedures from sourcing, supplying and taking care of the surrogate mothers themselves.

“The IVF clinics’ job is to do IVF (in vitro fertilization). We want them away from the potential areas where corruption and malpractice take place,” said Dr. R.S. Sharma, deputy director general of the Indian Council for Medical Research, said.

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