Thai surrogate loses custody of baby to foreign same-sex couple
BANGKOK, Thailand, April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A same-sex couple has won a custody battle with a surrogate mother after she refused to sign documents allowing the baby to obtain a passport and leave the country with them.
Bangkok’s Juvenile and Family Court ruled on Tuesday that American Gordon Lake, baby Carmen’s biological father, is her legal guardian.
Carmen’s biological mother was an anonymous egg donor. Carmen’s surrogate mother, Patidta Kusolsang, gave Carmen to Lake and his “husband” Manuel Santos Valero after she was born. She then changed her mind and refused to sign documents allowing baby Carmen to obtain a passport, which would have allowed her to leave the country with Lake and Santos Valero.
The gay couple took Kusolsang to court, arguing that Carmen, who was born over a year ago, has the right to be raised by her biological father. The Bangkok Post reported in May 2015 that Lake and Santos Valero were in hiding with baby Carmen and an older baby, who was also conceived using a surrogate. According to the couple’s change.org petition, they later sent the older baby back to Spain because of safety concerns.
Lake claims that Kusolsang didn’t want Carmen to be raised by a same-sex couple. According to Lake, Kusolsang had thought they were an "ordinary family and that she worried for Carmen's upbringing” upon learning the baby she carried and delivered would be raised in a same-sex household.
Thai law doesn’t recognize same-sex “marriages,” and a ban on commercial surrogacy took effect after Carmen was born, the Bangkok Post reported.
“The bond I have with my baby can’t be traded for money and I am not going to sell my daughter,” Kusolsang said. She offered to return the $9,250 she was paid for carrying Carmen.
“This clearly is human trafficking because there is money involved,” Kusolsang’s lawyer Verutai Maneenuchnate previously said.
In 2014, an Australian couple ignited a firestorm of criticism when they left their surrogate son, who was born with Down syndrome, in Thailand. The couple admitted that they would have preferred their son be aborted.
In addition to Thailand’s recent commercial surrogacy ban, India has moved to limit surrogacy to Indian couples.
Surrogacy is illegal in Spain, where Lake and Santos Valero live.