High Court Advises Against Encouraging Surrogacy ‘Industry’ in India

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court expressed concerns about encouraging the surrogacy industry in India, citing concerns that it could potentially evolve into a billion-dollar business. This stance emerged during a hearing on a petition filed by an Indian-origin couple residing in Canada. The couple challenged the March 14 notification issued by the Centre, amending the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act to prohibit donor surrogacy.

The bench, led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna, questioned the necessity for court involvement in the surrogacy sector. The judges emphasized that as the petitioners were based in Canada, running an industry in India should not be permitted. The court asserted that encouraging such an industry could lead to substantial financial gains, reaching a billion dollars.

The changes to surrogacy rules, according to the court, occurred in response to previous judicial interventions. The matter is scheduled for further hearing on January 15, 2024, alongside similar petitions.

The petitioners, a childless couple with a medical condition necessitating gestational surrogacy, argued that they had legally married in India and were permanent residents. They sought surrogacy with oocyte donation, involving the transfer of embryos into the surrogate mother’s uterus, created from donor oocytes and the husband’s sperm. Despite being granted a medical indication certificate for donor surrogacy in December 2022, the Centre’s March 14, 2023, notification banned such procedures.

The Delhi government was represented by standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi during the proceedings. The court’s reservations regarding the surrogacy industry’s growth and the ban on donor surrogacy have raised questions about the future of assisted reproductive technologies in India.

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