The Indian government is at last attempting to set an end to the filthy business of “surrogacy tourism”, releasing an official letter to fertility clinics last week that bans them from contracting surrogates to foreigners. The supply of babies to Indian clients is, however, apparently not affected by the ban.
India legalized commercial surrogacy in 2002. It has since grown into a booming part of the Indian economy, bringing an estimated $500 million to $2.3 billion in revenue annually. India’s government has worked since 2012 to regulate the practice, which exploits illiterate and impoverished women, turning them into “birth machines” and their babies into a commodity that can be purchased by wealthy clients.
In Europe, surrogacy tourism is an increasingly frequent phenomenon, as a series of cases at the ECtHR evidence. Among those wishing to get hold of a child in this way one finds not only infertile couples, but also same-sex couples or individual persons.