A baby boy with Icelandic parents who was born to a surrogate mother in India last November has been stuck in the country since birth, unable to get an Icelandic passport.
Joel Faerseth Einarsson has now been granted an emergency passport which will be issued by the Icelandic embassy in Delhi within the next few days. Then all the baby will need is permission to leave India from the Indian authorities before travelling to Iceland with his Icelandic parents, RUV reports.
The baby boy was granted Icelandic citizenship on the 18th December (but not a passport) and the nation has been closely following the unusual proceedings. The matter has even been dealt with personally by Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson, who explained in parliament yesterday that the boy has not yet travelled to Iceland because his parentage has not yet been established, from a strictly legal perspective. The minister added that he believes the problem will be finally sorted very soon.
The issue arose because surrogate pregnancies are not legal in Iceland — although a change in the law is gathering a lot of public support. Those in Iceland needing the services of a surrogate mother must therefore look overseas. In this case, baby Joel was recognised by the Icelandic authorities as being the child of his surrogate mother and an Indian citizen, despite the fact that his biological parents are Icelandic.
The parents have been regularly interviewed from India by the Icelandic media. Before Christmas they described the long delays as a government tactic to ward other potential parents away from the idea of overseas surrogacy. It was roughly this time that the government minister stepped in with assurances that this was not the case.
(Photographs for illustration purposes only: not directly connected to the story)