Surrogate twin abandoned by intended parents, has the UK law really thought its policies through?
Do you leave the surrogate mother to tend to a child she didn't plan on or force the intended parent to take a child she is unlikely to care for?
UK Surrogacy arrangements are not legally binding, as such the consequences can be dire
“The recent story about Gammy in Thailand shocked a lot of the British public but it can also happen in the UK, as demonstrated by this couple who left a baby girl, one of a set of twins, with a surrogate because she had congenital myotonic dystrophy. Intended parents took the healthy child and left the disabled child with the surrogate parent who never anticipated having a child. With no right to claim maintenance, no means to enforce the surrogacy arrangements its just fortunate the mother is showing compassion to the new born.
This clearly demonstrates ,yet again , the dangers that these arrangements face. Surrogacy Agreements are not binding on any party in the UK and, although this places the Intended Parents in danger of the surrogate keeping your child, it can also be disastrous for the surrogate if the Intended Parents do not make the necessary applications to court and abandon their child.
In contrast, couples going to USA or other jurisdictions where the Surrogacy Agreement are legally binding can obtain greater certainty. The US law accepts that all parties are adults, that they understand the steps they are taking and the need to regulate this area to avoid these such situations arising. Since money is also passing hands the arrangements are far more commercially handled and the surrogate has the comfort that she will be looked after before and after birth.
Whilst we understand the UK's reluctance to make these arrangements commercial if Surrogacy Agreements were at least legally binding in the UK , it would be far more unlikely that this type of problem would arise and these twins would never have been separated and the surrogate mother in this precarious position. It is hard to see how the actual effect of a non-binding agreement in the UK could be considered in the child’s best interests and similarly difficult to reconcile with principles of fairness given the surrogate’s generosity at undertaking this process.
When the healthy twin becomes an adult and understands the circumstances, around her birth, the abandonment of her twin, by her legal guardian, on the grounds of discrimination and prejudice how can that poor child reconcile her understanding of being given to such a family. The law has taken a view without considering all the factors that can impact on these arrangements.
Whilst we do not advocate any specific arrangements we can see the security of seeking these arrangements abroad and having the law protect you and the children from harm, which is otherwise left vulnerable in the UK
Most surrogacy arrangements are successful but it is both disheartening and upsetting for everyone involved where it goes off the normal track. As we can see with this story, it can be for the most unjust reason and not with the children’s welfare at heart. It is important that every person engaging in this process obtains legal advice on their rights and the problems that still plague this imperfect system to ensure you avoid being caught in the same trap.
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