An American couple whose surrogacy ran into problems six months ago have claimed their lives are ‘destroyed’ as legal obstacles mount in their attempt to claim their surrogate daughter born to a Thai mother prior to Thailand new surrogacy laws.
Two American gay parents find their legal rights dwindling as their six-month quest to bring their little baby daughter home to the US looks like it is doomed to fail. The Thai surrogate mother is determined to keep the little girl and under the new Thai surrogacy law, she is quite within her rights.
Thailand’s parliament recently rubber-stamped new laws introduced by the government which has outlawed commercial surrogacy in the country. The issue of surrogacy in Thailand came to light in 2014 when an Australian couple abandoned a little boy born with Downs Syndrome. This case is quite different and according to the gay couple involved in the dispute stems from ‘issues’ which the Thai surrogate mother of the little girl has with the fact that the parents of the little girl are two gay US men.
Mother charged heart just as the gay couple were preparing to leave Thailand with baby Carmen
Gordon Lake and his Spanish partner, Manuel Santos, claim that the Thai surrogate Patidta Kusolsang, who is not in fact the baby’s natural or genetic mother, decided she wanted to keep the little baby girl named Carmen just as the gay couple was preparing to leave Thailand.
Patidta ‘had issues’ with the couple’s sexual orientation, says Lake. Thai Thai surrogate mother failed to show up at the U.S. embassy in Bangkok to sign Carmen’s passport application in January. The American gay couple needed these papers in order to leave Thailand with the baby.
Worldwide interview with Reuters
In the worldwide interview, this week with Reuters lake said: ‘We have been here six months and our lives are being destroyed. Our families have missed out on the first six months of Carmen’s beautiful life.’
the Thai surrogate mother has not responded to media requests for a comment on the gay couple’s claims.
Thailand up to the 2014 controversy was quite a popular destination for couples from around the world seeking surrogacy solutions. One of the key attractions was the lack of regulation and legal framework. This has now changed dramatically with the new surrogacy law introduced by Thailand’s parliament which comes into effect on July 30th.
The law was a response to series of scandals including the Australian Downs Syndrome case and a slew of surrogacy cases linked to a Japanese businessman who used Thailand as a base to deliver surrogate babies to clients all over the world. the new law passed in February effectively bans all bans foreigners making surrogate arrangements in Thailand.
The new law does not come into effect until July 30th.
Gay couple are not violating the law but have run into problems relating to travel outside Thailand
Technically, the American gay partners are not in violation but it is a strong impediment to their efforts to have the American embassy ratify their papers in order to bring the surrogate baby girl back to the United States.
In a forthright statement emailed to Reuters, the American embassy in Bangkok emphasised that U.S. citizens in Thailand were subject to Thai law.
‘Pursuant to U.S. law, the Department cannot issue passports to minor children without the consent of the legal parents or guardians,’ said embassy spokeswoman Melissa Sweeney.
Thai mother has custody of the child legally
As it stands under current Thai law, the birth mother is legally recognised as the mother of the child and commissioning parents have no automatic legal rights over a child, says Wanlop Tankananurak, a member of the Thai parliament responsible for the surrogacy law.
Lake said the gay couple chose Thailand in preference to India where surrogacy regulations were recently tightened. The gay couple already have a son, Alvaro born through a surrogacy arrangement in India two years ago. ‘Thailand has great medical facilities, hospitals, embryologists and surrogacy has been going on for years in Thailand,’ he said. ‘Everyone had great expectations, there was no reason to think anything could go wrong.’
Stranded in Bangkok
Now the gay couple are stranded in Bangkok waiting to recover their daughter. Since the couple’s daughter Carmen was born six months ago, using a Thai surrogate, they have been in constant contact with the Thai police and social services. Only now have they come to realise that their rights to the little Thai girl are very limited.
‘I have no legal rights over Carmen. The woman who gives birth has all legal rights,’ one of the gay men told CNN the international TV station. The couple are at home in Bangkok with their young baby boy Alvaro.
An emotional story for the pair
The legal and emotional story began in January just after the birth of little Carmen. The American gay couple had planned to take Carmen to the US embassy to get her US passport. They received a text from a translator acting for Patidta Kusolsang, the surrogate mother.
Patidta stated that she wanted to keep her baby. From that point, the future of the gay family and little Carmen has been in the hands of Thai officials and the Thai legal system. the new surrogate law has weakened the position of the gay couple
Crackdown on surrogacy activities in Thailand
The battle for the American couple comes in the midst of a storm of the controversy focused on surrogacy births in Thailand.
Thailand’s surrogacy industry has been stopped dead in its tracks as the government in Thailand has reacted strongly to public outcry in Thailand following the story of the little boy called Gammy.
This was the boy rejected by an Australian couple. Many commentators say this controversy and the subsequent revelations about a Japanese businessman who had created a surrogate baby conveyor line using surrogate mothers and a number of apartments in Bangkok have shocked and revolted many ordinary Thai people.
The new law coming into effect on July 30th clearly makes surrogacy for profit a criminal offence.
Lake is the baby’s biological father
Carmen’s fathers had hoped to take advantage of provisions in the new law which allowed biological parents of surrogates some rights but the law as written defines such parents as ‘husband and wife.’
According to Lake, the baby is biologically his with an egg donor. He believes Kusolsang, the surrogate, changed her mind about giving them the baby after she found out they were gay. In their first meeting to try and resolve the dispute, ‘she declared that we were not an ordinary family,’ he said.
Surrogate: I changed my mind
Kusolsang denied their sexual orientation is the issue, saying she cares only for the safety for her child. ‘I miss her every day,” Kusolsang said. ‘You see how cruel the world today. And I just don’t know what they are going to do with my baby.’ She told CNN she changed her mind months ago about giving up the baby and tried in vain to get more information about the intended parents. Kusolsang has filed a claim with the Thai police and written a letter to the U.S. embassy. She said she will return the couple’s money if she can have the baby. ‘I don’t want his money, not even one single baht,’ she said.
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