July 18, 2024

The Legal Landscape of Surrogacy in India: A Comprehensive Overview


Surrogacy, a practice that involves a woman carrying and delivering a child for another couple or individual, has gained significant attention worldwide. In recent years, India has emerged as a prominent destination for surrogacy, with a legal framework that addresses various aspects of the process. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the legal status of surrogacy Legal in India.

Legal Evolution:

The legal journey of surrogacy in India has been marked by significant developments. In 2002, India became one of the first countries to explicitly legalize gestational surrogacy, where the surrogate mother is not genetically related to the child she carries. The country quickly became a hub for international surrogacy due to the relatively lower costs and the availability of skilled medical professionals.

However, concerns about the ethical and commercial aspects of surrogacy led to a series of regulatory changes. In 2015, the Indian government imposed a ban on commercial surrogacy for foreign couples, restricting the practice to Indian citizens and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). This move aimed to prevent the exploitation of surrogate mothers and to address ethical concerns related to commercialization.

Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021:

The most significant development in the regulation of surrogacy in India came with the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021. Enacted to streamline and regulate surrogacy practices in the country, the Act provides a comprehensive legal framework governing various aspects of the surrogacy process.

Key Provisions:

  1. Eligibility Criteria: The Act outlines the eligibility criteria for intended parents, emphasizing the need for a medical certificate confirming their inability to conceive or carry a child.

  2. Age Limit: Both intended parents must be between 23 and 50 years old for a woman and between 26 and 55 years old for a man.

  3. Altruistic Surrogacy: The Act permits only altruistic surrogacy, where the surrogate mother receives no monetary compensation beyond medical expenses and insurance coverage.

  4. Nationality and Residency: Surrogacy is limited to Indian citizens, NRIs, and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs). Foreign nationals or non-resident Indians are not allowed to avail surrogacy services in India.

  5. Insurance Coverage: The Act mandates that the surrogate mother must be provided with comprehensive medical insurance coverage during the pregnancy and for 16 months after the birth of the child.

  6. Surrogacy Boards: National and State Surrogacy Boards are established to oversee the implementation of the Act and address disputes arising from surrogacy arrangements.


With the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, India has taken a significant step towards ensuring a more ethical and regulated surrogacy environment. The emphasis on altruistic surrogacy, eligibility criteria for intended parents, and the establishment of regulatory boards aim to protect the rights and well-being of all parties involved.

While surrogacy is legal in India, adherence to the guidelines set forth by the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act is crucial for ensuring a transparent and ethical surrogacy process. The evolving legal landscape reflects India’s commitment to balancing the needs of couples seeking surrogacy with the ethical considerations and protection of the surrogate mothers’ rights.


About Author