A same sex couple have won a lengthy legal battle against a Thai surrogate mother.
The men, one Spanish, the other American, had commissioned a child from the surrogate via an agency which has since closed. The resulting baby girl was born in January last year and given to the two men as arranged. But the surrogate then refused to sign the necessary legal documents so the men were unable to obtain a passport for the infant, now named Carmen.
The couple – Gordon Lake and Manuel Santos, both 41 – launched proceedings in the Thai courts, claiming she had refused to sign the documents because they were gay and not “an ordinary family”.
Mr Lake is the biological father of the baby. An egg donor was used in the conception. Mr Santos returned to Spain, with the couple’s first surrogate child, and his partner remained in Thailand while the case continued.
The case attracted extensive media coverage but was not straightforward as Thai law does not recognise same sex unions. In addition, the country also passed a law banning commercial surrogacy in August last year, as the couple’s legal battle proceeded through the courts.
They managed to raise $36,000 via a crowdfunding site to help finance Gordon’s extended stay in Thailand and pay their court fees.
Mr Lake insisted the couple had been clear which the agency from the start that they were a same sex couple and their arguments have now been accepted by the Thai central juvenile and family court, which today awarded the men legal custody.
Gordon Lake said he and Miguel were “overwhelmed” by their victory.
“We always knew our story would have a happy ending and we just can’t wait for the four of us to be together again.”