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The Legal Landscape: A Comprehensive Look at Surrogacy Laws in India

Surrogacy is a profoundly complex and emotionally charged journey; I found a bustling hub in India for its affordability and availability of willing surrogates. However, this growing industry soon found itself under the blunt scrutiny of legal and ethical concerns, prompting India to reevaluate its approach to surrogacy through the lens of law. The trajectory from an unregulated domain to implementing comprehensive surrogacy laws reveals a compelling narrative of evolution and refinement. The Condition of Surrogacy in India

In the past, India emerged as a global hotspot for surrogacy due to its relatively affordable medical facilities, skilled professionals, and a lenient legal framework. This led to a surge in international couples seeking surrogacy services in the country. However, the absence of comprehensive regulations resulted in ethical dilemmas, exploitation of surrogate mothers, and legal ambiguities.

Reasons Behind the Issuing of Surrogacy Laws in India The need for a regulatory framework became evident as cases surfaced highlighting exploitation, lack of rights for surrogates, and concerns over the welfare of the child. In 2015, the Indian government introduced the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, aiming to regulate surrogacy and address these pressing issues. The bill aimed to curtail commercial surrogacy, limit the practice to altruistic purposes, and safeguard the rights of all involved parties . Influential Case Studies

  •  Baby Manji Yamada Case (2008)

This case revolved around a child born to an Indian surrogate mother and a Japanese couple divorcing before the child's birth. The legal limbo highlighted the dire need for a robust legal framework that would secure the rights of surrogate children.

  • Baby Gammy Case (2014)

Baby Gammy's story shook the world when his intended Australian parents abandoned him after a Down syndrome diagnosis. This distressing incident emphasized the ethical facets of surrogacy and the welfare of surrogate-born children.

  •  The Great Surrogacy Debate (2015)

The escalation of commercial surrogacy and concerns over exploitation sparked a national discourse. High-profile cases involving celebrities further fuelled the need for a structured legal framework to regulate and monitor surrogacy practices.

Key Provisions of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2021

  • Altruistic Surrogacy Only

The most striking shift brought by the bill is the prohibition of commercial surrogacy. The practice of paying surrogate mothers for their services is now deemed illegal. Instead, the bill emphasizes altruistic surrogacy, where a woman volunteers to carry a child for her intended parents without monetary compensation. This provision aims to prevent the exploitation of women who might have otherwise been forced or financially motivated to become surrogates.

  • Eligibility Criteria for Intended Parents

The bill outlines strict eligibility criteria for intending parents, marking a departure from the previously careless guidelines. Intended parents must now meet specific criteria, including being Indian citizens and married for at least five years, with at least one partner having infertility issues. This measure ensures a more responsible and transparent surrogacy process, reducing the likelihood of misuse and ensuring that surrogacy remains a viable option for those genuinely in need. 

  • ·    Surrogacy Boards

The formation of these boards represents a structural overhaul aimed at regulating and implementing surrogacy laws effectively. These bodies will oversee the entire process, ensuring compliance with the law, safeguarding the well-being of surrogate mothers, and protecting the rights of children born through surrogacy. By decentralizing the oversight to state-level boards, the legislation seeks to address surrogacy-related issues at a more localized level.

  • Ethical and Legal Oversight

Beyond the technicalities, the bill emphasizes surrogacy's ethical and moral dimensions. It prioritizes the safety of surrogate mothers and the well-being  of children born through surrogacy. The emphasis on agreement, counseling, and healthcare for surrogate mothers aims to provide a comprehensive support system, acknowledging their critical role in the process.

The Evolution and Improvement of Scenarios

Since the introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, India has seen a shift in its surrogacy landscape. The bill aimed to provide a legal framework addressing the concerns surrounding surrogacy, including the establishment of a National Surrogacy Board to oversee the process and safeguard the interests of all parties involved. Moreover, it restricted eligibility to only heterosexual couples married for a minimum of five years and barred foreigners from seeking surrogacy services.

However, while the bill aimed to bring order and protection, criticisms emerged regarding its exclusionary nature, limiting accessibility to surrogacy for certain individuals and couples. The discussions on the bill continued, with calls for more inclusive regulations considering various familial structures and ensuring comprehensive support for all involved.


The journey of surrogacy laws in India reflects a significant stride towards regulation and ethical practice. The evolving legal landscape acknowledges the necessity to balance reproductive rights, safeguard the welfare of surrogate mothers, and prioritize the best interests of the child. As discussions persist, the focus remains on formulating inclusive and ethical guidelines that address the diverse needs of individuals seeking surrogacy while ensuring comprehensive protection and support for all parties involved.

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