In a move that has tremendous potential of giving a huge push to the medical tourism industry in India, the government has allowed the import of embryo for the purpose of artificial reproduction.
Foreign couples will now be allowed to bring in frozen embryos and pursue surrogacy, in vitro fertilization (IVF) or any other procedure related to treating infertility.
As part of the quality control measures, the imported wombs will have to carry a no-objection certificate (NOC) issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
As per Hrishikesh Pai, president-elect of the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, the decision is applicable for both foreign nationals and Indian couples living abroad.
Despite the ICMR allowing the import of frozen human embryos in liquid nitrogen containers, conflict still remains as such imports are not allowed as per the Indian customs and Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) rules.
How Would This Help Surrogacy?
The Indian surrogacy industry has always been rife with ambiguities and conflicting guidelines, both of which deterred its growth. With the adoption of case-to-case approval mechanism, the government will make sure that no human embryos are brought into the country for research purposes. This will also ensure that there is no exploitation of surrogates.
ICMR’s Stringent Conditions for Issuing NOC
The ICMR will issue an NOC for the purpose of import of embryo gametes only if it is for personal therapeutic reasons. Imports will not be allowed in case the intent is to sell the embryo. Documents required for obtaining an NOC are:
- The recommending ART clinic’s registration certificate
- The Indian clinic where the infertility treatment will take place
- Name and address of the in-charge of the Indian clinic
- Foreign clinic’s declaration that the infertile woman is incapable of conception or that conception will pose a serious health concern to her
- Foreign clinic’s declaration that no sex selection was resorted to
- The commissioning couple’s proof of identification and marriage documents
India’s medical tourism industry is touted to reach $2 billion by 2015. With such positive developments, the country’s infertility treatment industry is bound to grow by huge numbers and give a number of couples from all over the world a chance to further their families.
Medical Tourism Corporation has a history of facilitating surrogacy and IVF journey of many couples in India. This decision taken by the Indian government will bring loud cheers among people looking to enjoy the joys of parenthood.
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