A British woman hired to serve as a surrogate mother for a gay couple must surrender the infant to its fathers, a UK judge has ruled.
The unnamed woman met the couple online and agreed to travel to Cyprus in 2015 to have an embryo transferred into her womb. But at some point she changed their minds about giving up the baby, now 18 months old. She reportedly waited weeks before telling the fathers she had given birth in April 2016.
After the men filed legal proceedings last year, a High Court judge ruled the baby should live with his fathers, thought the surrogate would be allowed six visits a year. This week, she lost an appeal.
The surrogate has no biological connection to the child—both men donated sperm paired with an egg from a Spanish donor. But because British law doesn’t recognize surrogacy, and the fact that there is no adoption order in place, she and her husband remain the child’s legal mother and father
In the original ruling, High Court Justice Lucy Theis said the baby was better off “as a child of gay intended parents living with a genetic parent.”
Theis criticized the surrogate and her husband for “having embarked on a deliberate and calculated course” to prevent the men from establishing a relationship with their child.”
But while it found in their favor, the Court of Appeal also criticized the dads, for “unwisely and unaccountably” generating publicity about the case. They have since been barred from speaking to the press.
Justice McFarlane said the situation “demonstrates the risks involved when parties reach agreement to conceive a child which, if it goes wrong, can cause huge distress to all concerned.”
He added that the Law Commission may look into reforming surrogacy laws to create a better legal framework.