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Ethics – Surrogacy confusion

August 2016

A surrogate mother who gave birth to a gay couple’s baby after meeting them once has been allowed to keep the child, after a judge ruled the baby would be better off with her.

The woman, who is in her early 20s, contacted the two men (one of whom is the baby’s biological father) via a surrogacy site. She met them once in a fast food restaurant, and agreed to carry the child for them for £9000. But during her pregnancy with the child, she decided she wanted to keep the baby.

When the baby was born — with learning difficulties — the men took the woman to court. However, after a full investigation, the judge found in her favour, saying she could provide the love and support to the child that the two men could not.

In the judgement, quoted in the Daily Mail, the judge said the woman was of ‘limited income’ and lived with her partner, employed as a manual worker, in modest rented accommodation, where the atmosphere was ‘loving and joyful’.

In contrast, the two men were professionals — one an academic and another a charity adviser. But, although they were in a more secure social and economic position, Mrs Justice Russell said the couple’s home was not particularly ‘child-friendly’.

She said, ‘The warmth of each family itself is where the real difference lies, not just within the home itself but in the warmth that extends beyond four walls to others’.

The woman’s right under English law to be recognised as the child’s mother was unconditional and could only be given up if she freely gave consent. The little boy, who was born in 2015, would be able to stay in contact with the men and see them every eight weeks. His birth certificate will also be changed so he bears his biological father’s surname.

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