United Kingdom: A judge grants legal guardianship to a surrogate mother

Publié le 4 Jul, 2016

In England, a young woman agreed to carry the child of a homosexual couple she met on a surrogacy Facebook page. During the one and only brief meeting in a fast-food restaurant, the three people concerned completed a document downloaded from the same site, which allocated a fee of £ 9.000 for the surrogate mother.  


Insemination was carried out in a Cyprus clinic, with two embryos fertilised from the sperm of one of the two men and an egg donor. Consequently, the surrogate mother had no genetic links with the babies. Pregnant with twins, the young woman started to have doubts about continuing with the agreement. Complications occurred during the first few months of pregnancy and led to the miscarriage of one of the twins. The young woman continued her pregnancy through to term but concealed the facts from the future parents. It was only at birth, once they had been informed of the existence of one baby, that they initiated litigation proceedings.


Judge Russel held that, in the child’s interests, he should “stay with the woman who carried him as she is the best person to respond to his emotional requirements”. She added that “this separation would have a harmful impact upon the child”. She granted the mother “joint legal responsibility” with her partner. The biological father is to retain his “biological responsibility” and is authorised to see the child for one weekend every eight weeks.


The judge criticised the way in which the procedure had been carried out. The mother, who was considered to be “a young, vulnerable woman with a low income and learning difficulties” remained “isolated” and had been left out of discussions in the clinic.


Judge Russel called for legislation to be adopted given the existence of this kind of financial market affecting the most vulnerable surrogate mothers on the one hand, and future parents, unprotected by law, on the other. 

Bio News (Antony Blackburn-Starza) 04/07/2016 

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