One thing that we do always want our visitors to be aware of is that other countries, just like your own, can have sudden legal changes that are able to affect you as a medical tourist.
Sometimes, these can work to your benefit, for instance, it should not be very much longer before Fertility Tourism is an option in Costa Rica.
On the other hand, sometimes new laws can create an incredibly difficult situation for those who have not been watching the news, as in this article from the Mumbai Mirror:
While the nation is obsessed with Shah Rukh Khan’s surrogate child, the fate of more than a thousand unborns in the city hangs in balance, after the Home Ministry banned foreign gay couples and single parents seeking surrogacy in India.
Several clinics and laboratories in south Mumbai, Bandra and other parts of the city have preserved embryos belonging to foreign nationals, which cannot be discarded as the doctors say these are “future children” of their clients. These embryos cannot be sent out of the country either, as the law doesn’t allow such practice.
According to the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR), there are more than a thousand embryos being preserved in Mumbai, and each client has to pay up to Rs 25,000 a year for preservation. The Home Ministry, in December last year, issued notification tightening visa norms for foreigners seeking surrogacy in India to regulate surrogacy practices.
Gynaecologist and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) specialist Dr Duru Shah, who has more than 80 frozen embryos belonging to single parents at her Kemps Corner laboratory, said the government order has shifted the clientele to Thailand and Mexico.
“I have been getting panic calls from my clients, who are worried about the embryos that are lying in my laboratory. They want me to send over the embryos for the further process but our law doesn’t allow that,” Shah said.
According to the rules in India, even heterosexual couples have to be married for two or more years to be eligible to commission surrogacy. The notification also made it mandatory for these couples to visit India only on a medical visa and not on a tourist visa. The couples also require medical documentation proving that they could not bear children normally.
Dr Gautam Allahbadia, director of Bandra’s Rotunda Clinic where more than 90 embryos of nine aspiring parents are preserved, said the revised guidelines have hit his business hard. “More than 60 per cent of my clients are gay couples, single parents and live-in couples who visited India for surrogacy. This ruling has taken away major chunk of my business,” he said.
What do you think? Is India right to prevent gay couples and single parents from seeking surrogacy in India?