A surrogate mother has lost the right to care for a child she gave birth to.
The woman met a gay couple online and entered into a surrogacy agreement with them back in 2015. However, during the pregnancy she and her husband changed their minds about giving up the child, despite neither one of them sharing DNA with the baby.
This unsurprisingly led to a falling out between the two couples. When the child was born last April, with the mother did not inform the gay couple for more than a week. They soon launched legal proceedings to resolve the dispute.
Under English law, the child’s legal parents are the surrogate mother and her husband. Despite one of them being the biological father, the gay couple have no parental rights without a court order.
The gay couple were successful in the High Court, which ruled that they should be the ones who care for the child. However, the surrogate mother was determined to keep the now 18 month-old infant and took her case to the Court of Appeal.
In a judgment published this week, the three Judges who heard the surrogate’s case ruled that the initial High Court decision had been correct. Lord Justice McFarlane said the child’s needs “would be best met by living with a genetic parent”. He also backed the High Court’s assessment of the surrogate mother and her husband, who had “embarked on a deliberate and calculated course of conduct” to prevent the gay couple forming a relationship with the child.
The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s declaration that the surrogate couple had “no capacity to resolve disputes or negotiate their way through difficulties”.
Read the full judgment here.