August 03, 2007

Biological mom loses custody of child she signed away in traditional surrogacy agreement

The nightmare scenario has happened, and not for the first time. (Read the full story here). This time it is in the UK, but it has happened a few times in the U.S. as well. Here the mom -admittedly psychologically imbalanced and apparently driven by a "compulsive desire to bear further children" - agreed to be impregnanted by the sperm of a stranger, and she signed an agreement to give up the child to that stranger and his wife. But once the child was born, lo and behold she refused to give it up. She kept her son, who is now 17 months old.

Alas, the court found that the boy's "natural father" and his wife would be "better parents" for the boy than his de facto natural mother and her husband. So, the woman now has to follow up on her agreement and give up her own son - a forced adoption, really.

What a convoluted case. This is the twisted world that we are sinking into as surrogacy becomes mainstream and socially acceptable. We are playing fire with natural human emotions, attachments and relationships. When babies are conceived with gametes from two people who wouldn't touch each other with a ten-foot pole, then we are asking for these kinds of problems. When we ask women to sign away their natural right to the child conceived and born of them, we are guaranteeing these kinds of problems.

The biological parents here both want the child, they both love him, and they both have an equal, "natural" (as the court put it) right to the child. But they were never married, they were never in a relationship, they were never physical and possibly they don't even know each other - and at this point they hate each other. So for the child, this is a zero-sum game: he has to lose one to win one, and by winning one he loses the other. It's clear that in such an arrangement, the child is the loser. The only winners here are the adults - the bio mom gets $$$ in her pocket (though she nurses a broken heart) and the bio dad gets his precious baby boy, predictably the "most wanted and loved baby in the world.".

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