External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj raised concern over a British surrogate child born to an Indian woman being left behind in India after her parents' medical visa expired. The parents may be forced to leave the child in a Mumbai orphanage as the UK government has delayed the child's passport.
"Should orphanage be the destiny of a surrogate baby?" Swaraj tweeted last night. "Commercial surrogacy is banned in Britain. Will British Government give a British passport to this surrogate Baby?" she added. She also called on "advocates of commercial surrogacy" to "suggest a solution and help this baby."
Commercial surrogacy was banned in India in November 2015. However, Chris and Michele Newman, both in their 40s, were allowed to keep the baby as the surrogate mother was already carrying the baby.
The Newmans are in in Mumbai on a medical visa that will expire on Oct. 7. Their child Lily is three months old and may not get a passport by then.
"Unless I book something to have a medical procedure out here I could never back with a medical visa," Chris was quoted as saying by Daily Mail UK. "For me to come and collect Lily without a medical visa we will have to come and get an exit visa for Lily...But if my medical visa does run out I don't know if I can pick Lily up or not," he added.
The parents of the child have been in a tizzy since the passport issue cropped up as they don't have any family or friends in Mumbai.
"We either leave her in an orphanage or with a complete and utter stranger...No parents should have to think about that. Twice we've been told that we need to prepare, if the visa expires, you will have to leave Lily here."
The couple, from Surrey, also started a petition on Change.org, saying that Lily's passport has been stuck in procedure since June 3.
"We were told by Liverpool HMPO customer service team that it had been sent to the High Commission in New Delhi on 4th July and it has been stuck there ever since," the petition reads.
The couple also mention their fears that the child might get trafficked.
"It is madness that UK Government and HMPO is so willing to safeguard the well-being of a baby applicant to ensure that it hasn't been trafficked, that it is happy for that child to be left without its parents in a foreign country with a complete stranger," the petition says.