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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

This same-sex couple has always wanted an Indian-origin baby, but our laws make it nearly impossible for them

While the old saying may claim that love is blind, more often than not it is the society that turns a blind eye to love. Or, the kind of love they think does not ‘qualify’ as love. Adi and Michael, who got married in October 2011, are a beautiful (and handsome) same-sex couple settled in the US, who have been wanting to have a child through surrogacy in India for years, but the law of the country has barred them from doing so.

The duo had initially hoped to adopt or avail complete surrogacy in India because Adi is Indian and grew up in Mumbai. His parents and extended family all continue to live in India. “We visit nearly every year, because family is so important to both of us. Having a child in India would help us celebrate Adi's heritage and culture while the child would grow up here in USA,” says Michael Upshaw, a speech language pathologist.

Unfortunately for this couple and all same sex couples, it has now become impossible to have a child through surrogacy in India. There has been a change in the requirements for entry into India for surrogacy for foreign nationals in July 2012. The notification from MHA is here. "According to this notification, the couple must be a man and woman married atleast for a period of two years. By this notification, same sex couples holding foreign nationality cannot take up surrogacy in India at the moment. Also, the country of origin of the intended parents must provide a letter that the child born through surrogacy would be able to take the child back to their country on its birth,” says Hari G Ramasubramanian, chief consultant, Indian Surrogacy Law Centre.

Infact, India does not even have a special legislation on surrogacy yet. The Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill is yet to be introduced in the parliament and is still in the drafting stage. “India has closed adoption and surrogacy options for same sex marriages; we were heartbroken to learn this and will do our best to stand with people or advocates who are fighting for this cause. Despite this setback, we are dedicated to growing our family and Indian culture will remain a priority for us,” says Adi Dubash, assistant professor of Biology at Furman University.

“We have always wanted to have a child, infact we hope to be able to have two one day. Now, we have contacted an adoption lawyer here in South Carolina and hope to start the adoption or surrogacy process as soon as possible. We would love to have our child through surrogacy; however, the costs are very high and we don't have the resources at this time,” the duo adds.

The two men met in graduate school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. They combined both Christian and Zoroastrian prayers and customs in their wedding held at the chapel in Northwestern University, where they were blessed by both set of parents and relatives.


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