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Japanese girl born to Indian surrogate arrives home

  • Story Highlights
  • Surrogacy has been legal in India since 2002
  • Some countries have banned the practice as a money-making venture
  • A few months before Manjhi was born, the couple divorced
  • The intended Japanese mother decided she did not want the baby
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- A 3-month-old girl born to an Indian surrogate mother has flown to Japan to join her biological father after spending the first months of her life in legal limbo.

Baby Manjhi and her grandmother flew to Osaka, Japan, from the Indian capital, New Delhi, Saturday night, said family friend, Kamal Vijay Vargiya.

While some countries have banned surrogacy as a money-making venture, it has been legal in India since 2002.

Under the practice, infertile couples are matched with local women to carry babies for $12,000 to $30,000.

Baby Manjhi was conceived when a Japanese couple paid a clinic in India to have the husband's sperm and an anonymous donor's egg implanted in the womb of an Indian surrogate.

The plan worked. But a few months before Manjhi was born, the couple divorced. The intended Japanese mother decided she did not want the baby.

Manjhi was born on July 25. Her father, Ikufumi Yamada, and grandmother traveled from Japan to pick her up and take her to her new home. But Indian law stipulates that a mother must be present in order for a baby to receive a passport.

In this case, neither the birth mother nor the mother who had originally sought the child wanted to be involved.

Manjhi's father looked into a legal adoption, but Indian law does not allow single men to adopt.

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The case garnered international headlines. Eventually, Manjhi was issued a birth certificate with just her father's name on it. And on Saturday, she left for Osaka to be reunited with him.

"This is for the first time in 28 years in Jaipur that somebody (in such a situation) has been issued travel documents by Indian authorities. And this became possible mainly because of media," said Sanjay Arya, the doctor who treated Manjhi at a Jaipur hospital.

-- CNN's Harmeet Shah Singh contributed to this report

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