India’s home ministry has issued guidelines that will end many gay couples’ hopes of parenthood via surrogates.
The guidelines say that only men and women who have been married for two years will be granted visas for the purpose of surrogacy, Times of India reports.
The home affairs ministry noted that it was no longer appropriate for foreign nationals using Indian surrogate mothers to enter the country on tourist visas, and ‘medical visas’ should be issued in such cases if they fulfilled certain criteria.
A circular with this information was originally sent to foreign embassies last July, but notified by the Foreign Regional Registration Office in Mumbai on 17 December, and sent to fertility clinics.
An Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill to further regulate the surrogacy industry in India is awaiting tabling in parliament.
Many gay couples from Europe, the US and Australia have become parents using Indian surrogate mothers in recent years, taking advantage of loose regulations and less expense than in the West.
In an article for the Daily Telegraph in May 2012 British couple Stephen Hill and Johnathon Busher shared their experiences of becoming fathers to twins via a surrogate mother in India.
The couple said they planned to repeat the experience in a few years to conceive siblings for their twins, with these new regulations from India’s home ministry however, they are unlikely to be able to.