Egg donor provides hope to same sex couple in Thai surrogate battle

An egg donor’s intervention may help a same sex couple at loggerheads with their baby daughter’s Thai surrogate.

Bud Lake, who is the biological father of baby Carmen, and his partner Manuel Santos, entered into the surrogacy agreement last year but their surrogate backed out of the agreement after giving birth once she discovered that the father’s partner was a man.

Since Carmen’s birth, the men have remained in Bangkok, and the surrogate mother has allowed them to care for Carmen, but not to remove her from Thailand. Mr Lake and Mr Santos already have a two year old son, born to a surrogate mother from India.

Thailand recently changed their surrogacy laws to ensure the biological parents have immediate parental rights over the child. Previously, the surrogate mother was the legal parent until she consents to hand over the child to its new parents. Baby Carmen was born while the old law was still operation, making it impossible for Mr Lake and Mr Santos to take her out of the country without an official handover by the surrogate mother. The new laws are also much stricter about who can become a surrogate and under what circumstances.

After a vigorous social media campaign to take baby Carmen out of the country with them, the Thai woman who acted as the egg donor for the couple has come forward and agreed to a DNA test. This would allow Mr Lake to prove that he is the biological father and the egg donor is the biological mother to Carmen. The results are said to have been near 100 per cent accuracy to determine the relationship between Mr Lake, Carmen and the egg donor. The Thai surrogate only acted gestational surrogate, and is not the baby’s biological mother.

The case is due to be heard by the courts next month. Mr Lake is petitioning under section 56 of the new law which says that the sperm donor and egg donor hold parental rights.  However, their case will be heard under the terms of the old law since Carmen was born before the law changed.

New Thai legislation was enacted at the start of August to tighten up rules on surrogacy after a series of high profile commercial surrogacy cases, including an Australian couple who discovered that one of their twin babies had Down’s syndrome. When the babies were born, the couple allegedly refused to accept the baby with Down’s syndrome and took the other with them.  The couple said that the surrogate insisted the baby stay with her.

Under the new legislation, commercial surrogacy in Thailand has been outlawed, with severe penalties for anyone found guilty.

Photo by Petra B. Fritz via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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