As more couples look towards India to have a child via surrogacy, problems like this will be inevitable:
Many months could pass before an Icelandic couple whose baby was delivered by a surrogate mother in Mumbai, India in November can return to Iceland due to legal complications, even though the baby was granted Icelandic citizenship last month.
According to ruv.is, the hospital where the baby boy, Jóel Faerseth Einarsson, was born has issued a birth certificate saying the Icelandic couple are his parents.
The Icelandic Ministry of Interior Affairs has concluded the birth certificate does not suffice and has requested a DNA test proving the boy’s origin in addition to the Indian government confirming the Icelandic couple’s legal custody over the boy. If that doesn’t work out, the Icelandic couple may have to take their case to the Indian courts.
The Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs are pointing fingers at each other in this matter. The latter has requested documents from India and it could take weeks or months until they have been received, so it is clear that the family won’t be returning to Iceland any time soon.
The Althingi parliament’s General Committee decided to make an exception and grant Jóel the Icelandic citizenship in December, at which time it appeared as if the family could come home.
However, the matter is more complicated than that, as Minister of Interior Affairs Ögmundur Jónasson stated, although adding his ministry is doing its best to help the couple.
The couple’s lawyer Dögg Pálsdóttir told ruv.is that the Indian Foreign Ministry has issued an apostille for Jóel’s birth certificate, which is what Icelandic authorities had requested, and that she has presented the Icelandic Ministry of Interior Affairs with the original copy.
In Pálsdóttir’s view, this should suffice to confirm that the Icelandic couple are the boy’s legal guardians. She said she has repeatedly requested what else is required to fulfill the conditions for him be given the Icelandic passport but has not received an answer.
The couple are now concerned that they won’t be able to return to Iceland before their visas expire in March.
We have blogged about these international immigration issues repeatedly. It bears reiterating: if you are pursuing any form of reproductive tourism, it is incumbent upon you to speak to an immigration and family attorney in your home country before considering working with an international surrogate.