Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



 

Surrogate to keep custody of baby following appeal

10 April 2017

By Jennifer Willows

Appeared in BioNews 896

A decision granting custody of a baby to a surrogate has been upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The child, now 20 months, was born after a surrogacy agreement broke down and has lived with the gestational mother and her family since birth. Last year the Family Court ruled that the child should remain with the mother (see BioNews 858) but the intended parents challenged the decision.

The male civil partners met the woman on a Facebook surrogacy group; they relied on a document downloaded from the internet in place of a contract and agreed to pay her £9000 expenses. They only had one face-to-face meeting with her before she travelled to Cyprus for the embryos, created using donor eggs and one of the men's sperm, to be implanted. The couple already has twins carried by a different surrogate, with whom they have also fallen out. One of the couple is the genetic father of all three children, and the same egg donor was used, so the twins are full siblings of the baby.

The surrogate has learning difficulties and is described by the court as being vulnerable. The judge in the original case said that the couple's treatment of her, and of their first surrogate, was 'unsympathetic' and 'potentially exploitative'. However, the surrogate's home and family were described as 'loving and joyful' and she was found to be a good mother.

'I have concluded... that it is in [the child's] best interests to remain living with [the mother],' said Ms Justice Russell in the original verdict. 'She is, quite apparently, more emotionally available and has a greater instinctive understanding of his emotional needs.'

The woman – who lives with her partner and their six-year-old son – is genetically unrelated to the baby, but by virtue of being the birth mother is automatically the child's legal parent. Her partner and the biological father also both had parental responsibility, and the Court of Appeal have extended this to the father's partner too.

The fact that the mother and her partner accepted the commissioning couple as an important part of the child's life was also paramount: 'She is the parent who is much more likely and able to be able to treat both the applicants in an open and generous way and to enable [the baby] to develop a good relationship with [the couple] and his siblings and so to allow him to develop a wider and a more positive sense of his own identity,' noted Russell J.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Bailii | 06 April 2017
 
Bailii | 30 June 2016
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

06 November 2017 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
A US surrogate has been united with her genetic child who she carried alongside the intended parents' embryo in an apparent case of superfetation... 
23 October 2017 - by Dr Mary Yarwood 
A surrogate from Queensland, Australia has had her parental rights removed after a judge decided it was in the baby's best interests...

16 January 2017 - by Jennifer Willows 
Twin boys born to a same-sex couple through surrogacy do not have the legal status of brothers, according to an Italian court...
19 December 2016 - by Ryan Ross 
The government has welcomed a House of Lords debate on surrogacy law reform, promising to consider whether the statute needs to be updated...
28 November 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
A surrogate who lost a legal battle to keep her child has been granted supervised contact by the Family Court, although her attempt to regain custody has failed...
07 November 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
A surrogate has refused to give her consent for the parents of twins to become the children's legal parents, even though she and her husband are not seeking any active involvement in the children's upbringing...
04 July 2016 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
A surrogate has been allowed to keep a baby after refusing to hand the child over to the intended parents after birth...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation