Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Surrogate baby readies for Japan

"Ten week old Majhi, a surrogate baby born in Gujarat and living with her grandmother with a family friend in Jaipur, is expected to get her travel documents to fly to her native country Japan very soon.

"On Monday, her caretakers in Jaipur submitted request for travel documents and regional passport officer Sharavan Kumar indicated willingness to release these soon.

"Majhi was made victim of media hype as questions were raised on how she could travel to Japan when her surrogate mother was an Indian. Passport agents as also doctors, who helped in surrogacy, had however told India Today two months ago that even in the past such babies had travelled abroad on travel documents.

"However, speculations and suggestions made were as weird as that the baby be made to stay in India forever to her being first adopted in India and then being allowed to go.

"Those knowing the facts well and in trade were shocked by such suggestions as her father, a surgeon is Japan, was known and alive and her surrogate mother had given consent for her release signing documents surrendering her rights altogether.

"Given that it was an anonymous Indian donor donating the egg, even the role of the girl's father's wife, who lived separately, was of no consequence. Media hype was further fuelled by refusal of the local passport office to consider her application for travel documents.

"Making things worse, an NGO moved Rajasthan High Court and sought stay on the baby's travel abroad besides demanding its custody, a move which later did not find favour with Supreme Court, which made it clear that there was no law stopping the baby from going abroad. The Supreme Court did not go into details over the issue.

"While everyone hopes little Majhi travels to her father as early as possible, the entire episode brings into light how a wrong media hype based on ignorance does not even spare a baby."

By Rohit Parihar (10/14/2008), India Today, Link to article (last visited 10/14/2008)

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