Gay couple win UK surrogacy battle over baby girl

Wed May 6, 2015 8:38am EDT
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By Kieran Guilbert

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A baby girl conceived through surrogacy will be removed from her biological mother and live with her father and his gay partner instead, a High Court judge in Britain has ruled.

The judgment follows a legal dispute over the nature of the parents' agreement when the child was conceived.

The father, who donated sperm, said the mother had agreed to be the gay couple's surrogate, but she said they had agreed that she should be the baby's main parent.

Ms Justice Alison Russell ruled that the mother had misled the two men when making the informal arrangement over the child, now 15 months old, and had always intended to keep it, rather than changing her mind during the pregnancy.

"Very sadly this case is another example of how "agreements" between potential parents, reached privately to conceive children to build a family, go wrong and cause great distress to the biological parents and their spouses or partners," she said.

Surrogacy campaigners say such cases are very rare and highlight the importance of surrogacy arrangements being built on friendship and trust between the mother and couple involved.

The High Court case was heard in London and Birmingham earlier this year, but the decision has just been published.

Surrogacy in Britain is legal but it is a crime to advertise for a surrogate or to offer your services as a surrogate. It is also illegal to pay a surrogate a fee, but surrogates can be reimbursed for expenses such as medical bills and clothes.   Continued...