Dealing with infertility and deciding to work with a gestational carrier or surrogate to have a baby can send new parents on a roller coaster of emotions. For one couple in New Zealand, they are facing a nightmare scenario after their surrogate, who had been an acquaintance of the couple, decided she wanted to keep the baby. Anna and Mark now find themselves stuck in a shared custody agreement with another woman for their own child.
Shortly before her due date, the surrogate cut off communication with the intended parents and did not inform them of the baby’s birth. Unfortunately, in New Zealand, there are no protections currently in place for people in this situation – on either side.
Intended parents who add to their families through surrogacy must legally adopt their children, even in situations where the child is theirs biologically. If the surrogate or gestational carrier decides to keep the child, as she did in this situation, she can do so.
Anna and Mark were not new to surrogacy; they’d previously been through the process with an agency. This time, they decided to go it alone. The reality is that there are no legal protections either way in New Zealand, although when intended parents work with an agency, assessments are completed and both the intended parents and gestational carriers are required to seek counseling and work with lawyers to help avoid this type of outcome. With a do-it-yourself surrogacy, the risks of legal complications are greater.
Unfortunately, rather than going through the adoption process, Anna and Mark found themselves bound by the terms of a legal custody agreement where they share custody of their child with the surrogate on a 50/50 basis.
At The Surrogacy Law Center, we work hard to protect the rights of individuals and couples who want to add to their families through surrogacy arrangements. To learn more, contact us today!