Egg Donation and Surrogacy for Foreigners in India
Egg donation and surrogacy have been popular options for couples struggling with infertility for several years. In India, foreigners have sought out these services since 2009 due to the country’s relatively low cost and liberal laws surrounding assisted reproduction.
Eggspecting was a very prominent agency that sent foreign donors, from America, Europe, and South Africa to India from 2011-2016 and the only American agency to do so.
In 2009, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) established guidelines for assisted reproduction technologies, including egg donation and surrogacy. These guidelines allowed for commercial surrogacy, whereby a woman could be compensated for carrying and delivering a baby for another couple or individual. This opened the door for many foreigners to seek out surrogacy services in India.
Over the next several years, India became a hub for surrogacy services, with many clinics catering to foreign couples seeking affordable and accessible options for starting a family. The country’s surrogacy industry was estimated to be worth around $2.3 billion by 2015, with thousands of babies being born to surrogate mothers each year.
However, in 2015, the Indian government began to tighten regulations surrounding surrogacy. The government expressed concerns about exploitation of surrogates and the lack of legal protections for them. In 2016, the government announced a ban on commercial surrogacy for foreigners, effectively ending the surrogacy industry for foreign couples in India.
While egg donation remained legal, the ban on commercial surrogacy created a vacuum in the market. Many couples turned to other countries for surrogacy services, including Thailand, Cambodia, and Nepal. However, these countries also began to tighten their regulations on surrogacy, leaving many couples without options. Egg Donation in India is still legal for Indian donors and Indian citizens but not for foreign Intended Parent(s) or foreign Egg Donors (although some agencies still send foreign donors to India, they are not doing it legally; it’s an under the table thing usually presenting the Egg Donor as someone freezing their own eggs for personal use later instead of being honest and disclosing they are an egg donor for someone else. Falsifying documents is illegal in every country in the world. India started cracking down on people and agencies trying to circumvent the laws so a few years ago they made it so that no embryos can be imported or exported
In 2019, the Indian government announced a new draft bill that would regulate surrogacy in the country. The bill proposed allowing altruistic surrogacy, whereby a woman could carry a child for another person or couple without receiving payment. The bill also proposed regulations for surrogacy clinics and guidelines for surrogates’ rights and protections.
The bill was passed by the Indian Parliament in 2020, allowing for altruistic surrogacy for heterosexual couples who have been married for at least five years and are unable to conceive a child. However, the bill still prohibits commercial surrogacy for both Indian and foreign couples.
In conclusion, the history of egg donation and surrogacy for foreigners in India from 2009 to 2023 has been a tumultuous one. While India was once a popular destination for surrogacy services, the government’s ban on commercial surrogacy in 2016 led to a decline in the industry. The recent passing of the surrogacy bill in 2020 provides hope for couples seeking altruistic surrogacy services in India, but commercial surrogacy remains illegal for both Indian and foreign couples.