Bringing Baby Back

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Parents Chris and Michele Newman with daughter Lily

The Indian external affairs minister has intervened to help a British couple who may have to leave their surrogate baby in an Indian orphanage. The couple, Chris and Michele Newman, risked leaving their four-month-old daughter Lily at an orphanage due to UK government delays in processing her passport.

Indian officials have extended their stay and challenged the UK government to provide a passport for their daughter. Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj expressed her annoyance at the passport delay on Twitter, “Commercial surrogacy is banned in Britain. Will British government give a British passport to this surrogate baby?”

She also asked her 6 million Twitter followers, “Should orphanage be the destination of a surrogate baby?” This was following Chris Newman’s admission that he had to look up Indian orphanages to house his daughter when faced with the horror of not returning with her, the father admitted, “I did have to do something no father had to – I was pacing around at 3am, looking at orphanages in the middle of Mumbai”.

The couple said they knew no one in India who could look after their daughter.

Lily was born in May 2016 to a surrogate mother in India in her mid-twenties, Lily was one of the last babies to be born to a foreign couple through a surrogate since the Indian government banned commercial international surrogacy in 2015.

Although the couple applied for their child’s passport in June they were immensely worried when little progress was made by September and their visas were ready to expire in October. There was also a lack of response from the UK passport office in Liverpool according to the parents.

Changes have been occurring as passport officials have been in touch since the case has gained coverage, the Newmans stated that they are hopeful that Lily can receive her passport in time.

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