UK Surrogacy row: Sushma offers help to UK couple
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj offered help to the UK couple whose surrogate baby may not get her UK passport in time to travel back home with her parents. Taking to Twitter, Swaraj asked the couple for their details so that India's MEA can extend their visa. The couple were on a medical visa, which was supposed to expire on 7 October.
Surrogacy is when another woman (surrogate mother), through artificial insemination, gives birth to a baby for a couple who want to have a child. Surrogate mothers receive medical, nutritional and overall healthcare through surrogacy agreements.
The Indian government stated that commercial surrogacy has become a $2 billion illegal industry and vowed to never allow India to become a "baby factory." Minister of State for Health, Anupriya Patel said "we in no way are going to promote the idea of commercial surrogacy." The new Surrogacy Regulation Bill 2016 proposes a complete ban on commercial surrogacy, except for Indian couples.
British couple Chris and Michele Newman are among the last foreigners to complete commercial surrogacy in India. The couple are on a medical visa in India to witness the birth of their daughter, and their visa expires on 7 October. However, for them to take their daughter Lily back home, the UK immigration office would have to process her passport documentation before 7 October.
The couple posted a petition online, seeking support for their cause, saying "..we have been left stranded because of delays due to UK Passport Office (HMPO) checks and may have to leave our 3 and half month old daughter with a complete stranger.."
External Affairs Minister questioned the British Consulates apathetic approach towards a couple whose surrogate baby's immigration documents are not being processed in time for her to leave to the UK with her parents. Taking to Twitter, she asked, "Should orphanage be the destiny of a surrogate child?" She also asked 'advocates of commercial surrogacy' to find a solution to the issue.