A draft surrogacy bill which aims to protect rights of surrogate mothers was cleared by the Cabinet today
India, which opened up to commercial surrogacy over a decade ago, will ban the hiring of women to carry babies, the government has said in a new proposal.
Gay couples having surrogate babies "doesn't go with our ethos", said union minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday, adding that those who can no longer use surrogate mothers include single people and foreigners.
Couples who have been married at least five years and are infertile can seek a surrogate, that too from among close relatives. Foreigners, overseas Indians, single parents and live-in couples can't.
"Couple should be married and for at least five years," Ms Swaraj emphasized, adding that a couple that has children cannot go for a surrogate baby.
The government's move means that no one can follow celebrity examples like Shah Rukh Khan - a father of two who had surrogate babies - or even Tusshar Kapoor, who became a single father recently.
Without taking names, Ms Swaraj commented that "celebrities are having surrogate babies, in spite of having two children, they had a third, just because the wife couldn't take the pain, and got someone else to bear their child."
Couples who get help from their relatives can only pay medical expenses.
The government has also decided not to allow any more surrogacy clinics. A new board will monitor surrogacy cases.
India is among just a handful of countries and a few US states where women can be paid to carry another's genetic child through a process of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and embryo transfer.
In recent years, surrogacy has become a lucrative $400-million-a-year business with over 3,000 fertility clinics. Childless couples flock to India because the cost of surrogacy here is roughly a third of the US price.