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Gay dads take surrogate to court after she bans them from seeing twin baby girls

(289 Posts)
Cwenthryth Wed 08-Jan-20 07:56:47

This popped up on my Twitter this morning, I thought it might be an interesting case to discuss here. The details are very hazy, and there are two sides to every story, but on the face of it, reading this has challenged my thoughts around surrogacy a bit - poor dads fighting for their daughters sob story, ‘the surrogate’ is painted as manipulative and dishonest. However, I really dislike how the woman is referred to as the men’s surrogate throughout the article, rather than the baby’s mother, or anything in her own right, and there is no regard for the trauma she has been through with a twin pregnancy, premature labour and very very poorly babies. She risked her life to make those girls, we are all very aware how women’s mental health can be severely affected during and after pregnancy. The article doesn’t even reference the children’s point of view/relationship with their mother, ot is all about the gay couple, their wants and their experience.

I don’t really have any conclusions at the moment but wanted to open up a discussion with other FWRers. I think perhaps the current laws are not working as well as they could, reform is probably inevitable and surrogacy isn’t going to be banned entirely any time soon, so needs to be regulated somehow.

OhHolyJesus Wed 08-Jan-20 08:03:12

The surrogate, along with her boyfriend, is painted badly here. I would like for payment for a service I offer too - what was agreed, was there a signed contract? There's more to this I think and there seems to be no questions about the amount considering we don't have commercial surrogacy in the U.K.

FamilyOfAliens Wed 08-Jan-20 08:06:41

I hate the idea of women being paid to rent out their womb. We are not incubators.

NotTerfNorCis Wed 08-Jan-20 08:07:02

Steven wrote: "Having our girls in NICU was only the very beginning of our long, excruciating nightmare."

That does sound very entitled.

It's complicated by the fact that one of the men is the twins' biological father, and that they gave thousands of pounds to the mother. I don't think they were entitled to take the babies, but the money should have been paid back.

birdsdestiny Wed 08-Jan-20 08:11:15

It's why surrogacy should be illegal.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 08-Jan-20 08:16:15

That carries a risk that the surrogate can assert a claim to keep the baby if she chooses to, according to NHS advice for LGBT couples.

Campaigners have claimed surrogacy laws are outdated after the Law Commission recently recommended intended parents should assume legal parenthood status as soon as the child is born.

I fucking hate surrogacy - it should be banned rather than giving the mother even less protection.

TheBeesKnee Wed 08-Jan-20 08:19:07

I don't like how they skim over the details of how the twins ended up being handed over - presumably the mother signed the parental rights forms, but under what circumstances?

HigherFurtherFasterBaby Wed 08-Jan-20 08:20:46

Also think surrogacy should be banned.

TirisfalPumpkin Wed 08-Jan-20 08:21:15

I’ve also come round to the ‘ban surrogacy’ view. Even in pure altruistic cases I just can’t see any way where it can be respectful of the rights of the mother and child(ren), and producing the desired legally binding contract. They seem mutually exclusive.

YourOpinionIsNoted Wed 08-Jan-20 08:22:02

I have a huge amount of sympathy for any couple who can't have their own children (same sex or otherwise) but ultimately I have come to feel that surrogacy is wrong. Women as incubators for hire just cannot be justified.

TinselAngel Wed 08-Jan-20 08:22:27

I'd like to hear the Mother's side of the story.

Cwenthryth Wed 08-Jan-20 08:28:01

I just don’t think banning surrogacy is realistic, so we need a way forward somehow.

One thing I’m pondering on, is should this arrangement be any different legally, to a woman pregnant by a man other than her partner/husband (who also has his own partner as well)? In which case the base assumption would be parental responsibility between the mother and the father, unless the mother chooses to relinquish. I don’t think the mother should ever be forced to relinquish, no matter what may have been agreed prior to conception/pregnancy/birth.

Keepingthingsinteresting Wed 08-Jan-20 08:29:58

I’m really surprised by the vitriol of these comments. Surrogacy cannot be advertised for or paid in this country (aside from covering expenses), so the woman obviously decided it was a lovely thing to do to help this couple have kids (they could have adopted, but this is the case for lots of people who choose to have IVF etc, so no comment) & then tried to roll them. If true the behaviour of her & the boyfriend is disgusting and outrageous blackmail and all the comments about protecting mothers etc are irrelevant in the circumstances. I have to wonder whether you would all have reacted this way if the surrogate had been acting for a woman who could carry her own child...

OnlyFoolsnMothers Wed 08-Jan-20 08:30:22

If this were a straight a couple that had separated it would not be considered ok for the man to just take the newborns away from the mother- I hate the fact you throw LGBT into the mix suddenly a woman’s right diminish. She is their mother!

FamilyOfAliens Wed 08-Jan-20 08:32:31

I just don’t think banning surrogacy is realistic

Why not?

Equanimitas Wed 08-Jan-20 08:33:48

I don't like how they skim over the details of how the twins ended up being handed over - presumably the mother signed the parental rights forms, but under what circumstances?

Presumably by court order.

FamilyOfAliens Wed 08-Jan-20 08:34:38

I’m really surprised by the vitriol of these comments.

And yet you describe the mother’s and boyfriend’s behaviour as “disgusting” and “outrageous blackmail” without knowing the facts of the case. Interesting.

diddl Wed 08-Jan-20 08:35:36

So the twins are with them now?

So how did that happen?

So it's to advertise their "go fund me"?

OnlyFoolsnMothers Wed 08-Jan-20 08:35:52

just don’t think banning surrogacy is realistic- Why not?

Because it will be seen as an infringement on the rights of same sex male couples to have children

EntirelyAnonymised Wed 08-Jan-20 08:41:43

I have real ethical issues with surrogacy but acknowledge that this situation must have been incredibly traumatic and complicated for all parties. The mother may well have been prepared to hand the babies over at the beginning of the process but the truth is that she had no way of knowing how/if she would bond with the babies she was carrying and I suspect the early labour, the babies’ vulnerability and their health complications only increased that bond.

On the financial side of things, it’s complicated to unpick. On the one side, if a woman is putting her health at risk, and is providing a ‘service’ and it is one that may affect her ability to perform her job or day to day tasks in to her full ability then it can be argued that she should be financially rewarded. However, on the other hand, once we start attaching a price to women’s bodies we become a commodity to be bought and sold and it dehumanises us. It starts to remove our autonomy because, “we’ve paid for this, so you’ll do things the way we want them done”. Worrying.

FamilyOfAliens Wed 08-Jan-20 08:43:10

Because it will be seen as an infringement on the rights of same sex male couples to have children

Is there such a thing in law as the right to have children? I never knew that.

Wakaranaihito Wed 08-Jan-20 08:45:06

Is having children a human right? I'm not sure it is. I am really conflicted about surrogacy as a whole. I understand there are altruistic women who it works for but it is so open to being abuse. Adds another layer of power and control to the patriarchy.

I think anyone entering into a surrogacy agreement should probably have a lot of counselling both before and after. Plus what are the impacts on the children?

More questions than answers.

TheVanguardSix Wed 08-Jan-20 08:45:14

We seem to think we're above our biology. And we're not. You carry a child in your womb and it really changes a woman, fundamentally. The agreement you start out with can be broken by a bonding that inevitably happens between a mother and her unborn baby. And that's what's happened here: This woman has bonded with her baby.
That all said, I am not on the side of the mother here. Those fathers are not acting entitled. They're expecting a bona fide agreement to be honoured. They have planned their lives and their family around the arrival of these two babies. I have enormous sympathy for the birth mother and her boyfriend. But her act of changing horses mid-stream is unethical. And here comes the argument "Surrogacy is unethical". Well, this woman should never have agreed to it then. Her body. Her choice and all that. She made a conscious decision, one she was not coerced into, and then changed her mind. And unfortunately, you can't really change your mind on this one. This isn't eBay.

I hate the fact you throw LGBT into the mix suddenly a woman’s right diminish. She is their mother!

This is NOT an LGBT issue. And she is the surrogate mother. She made an agreement, of her own accord, and broke it, of her own accord. That's not on.

TheVanguardSix Wed 08-Jan-20 08:46:01

This woman has bonded with her baby.

Babies, plural. Apologies.

Equanimitas Wed 08-Jan-20 08:46:30

So the twins are with them now?

So how did that happen?

Court order?

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