Dubai: Foreigners visiting India for surrogacy purposes can only travel on medical visas, the Indian Consulate has said.

“We have so far not received any applications in this category,” a spokesperson told XPRESS, but added that foreign nationals living in the UAE can apply for surrogacy visas to India, provided they fulfill other conditions.

Surrogacy is a form of assisted reproductive treatment (ART) in which a woman conceives and carries a child for another couple and then surrenders the newborn child to them.

Every year, an estimated 25,000 children are said to be born to surrogate mothers who rent their wombs in India. Over half of them are commissioned by infertile western couples.

The Indian Consulate said tourist visas are issued to foreign couples for reconnaissance trips as they must produce a duly notarised agreement between them and the prospective Indian surrogate mother when they apply for the surrogacy visa, but no samples can be given to any clinic during the preliminary visit.

Subsequently, it should take a few days before the medical visa is issued. “Subject to all required documents and mandatory clearances, it should take five-six working days,” a spokesperson said.

There are many conditions to be fulfilled by the applicants. The foreign couple must have been married for at least two years.

The spokesperson said those seeking a surrogacy visa to India must verify whether the law of his or her country permits surrogacy and will provide travel documents to the child to accompany the surrogate parents.

The treatment can be done only at registered ART clinics recognised by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Also before couples leave India, ‘exit’ permits must be be obtained testifying that the couple has taken full custody of the child and all liabilities towards the Indian surrogate mother have been fully discharged.