A British couple who couldn't have children hired a surrogate to both donate eggs and carry the child. During the pregnancy, the surrogate decided she wanted to keep the baby, and now she's demanding that the man pay her child support.
The Daily Mail reports that Mr. and Mrs. W, whose full names were withheld to protect the child's identity, turned to surrogacy after Mrs. W has six late-stage miscarriages. The found Miss N, a single mother of two, and agreed to pay her about $16,000. The couple claims that during the pregnancy, Miss N started asking for more money, and in her third trimester she texted them to say she was keeping the baby. The girl was born last June, and after a long custody battle a judge ruled that the baby should stay with her biological mother because they had a "clear attachment."
The couple gave up their right to contact the girl because they said it would be too difficult emotionally. Now Mr. W has been ordered to pay about $900 a month in child support. He's appealing the decision by the U.K.'s Child Support Agency. While it may seem that as a father he has an obligation to pay, he says the surrogacy agreement changes everything:
"She cannot say, 'I am keeping your child and now you must pay for it,'" he said. "She has taken away our baby and now she is taking our money. To me, that is completely wrong. The CSA has made the decision as if we were a couple who had broken up, but our situation is unique ... We were not having a baby together, we had agreed for her to carry a child for myself and my wife."
Mr. W has accused the surrogate of plotting to have a baby with a wealthy man to get child support, and says he'd rather pay in vouchers so he knows the items are going to food and clothing for the baby.
The couple didn't have a written contract, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway since surrogacy agreements aren't legally binding in the U.K. Considering the circumstances, it seems cruel for the mother to demand payments from Mr. W after breaking her promise to give the couple a child. Yet legally, all that matters is that he's the girl's father. Whether the surrogate changed her mind, or really did intend to keep the child all along, the case highlights the risks of turning pregnancy into a business when there are no laws in place to hold both parties to their agreement.
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