The Indian government is planning to clamp down on surrogacy – restricting it to married heterosexuals.
There are currently few restrictions on surrogacy in India, making it a popular destination for Western same-sex couples who are seeking a surrogate to bear their child.
However, the country’s government has announced fresh regulations which will effectively end the gay surrogacy business entirely.
The legislation will outlaw commercial surrogacy and restrict non-commercial surrogacy to married heterosexual Indian citizens.
Gay couples, single parents, and people who do not hold an Indian passport will be banned from using a surrogate in the country.
Under the restrictions, the only people who would be able to access surrogacy services will be married straight couples who are infertile – but the surrogate must be a relative.
Activists have strongly criticised the proposed law, which they say will simply force the surrogacy industry into an unregulated black market.
The news was confirmed by a statement from Indian PM Narendra Modi’s office.
It says: “The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for introduction of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016.
“The Bill will regulate surrogacy in India by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and State Surrogacy Boards and Appropriate Authorities in the State and Union Territories.
“The legislation will ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical surrogacy to the needy infertile couples.
“All infertile Indian married couple who want to avail ethical surrogacy will be benefited. Further the rights of surrogate mother and children born out of surrogacy will be protected. The Bill shall apply to whole of India, except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The major benefits of the Act would be that it will regulate the surrogacy services in the country.
“As such, it will control the unethical practices in surrogacy, prevent commercialization of surrogacy and will prohibit potential exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born through surrogacy.”
Homosexuality is illegal in India under freshly-reinstated Section 377 of the Colonial-era penal code.
Modi has declined to repeal the measure, which was brought back into effect by India’s Supreme Court in 2013.