UK: Single man becomes a father using his own mother as the surrogate
Published on: 16/04/2015

A mother helped her 24-year-old son to have a child, acting as a surrogate mother, something that happens for the first time in the UK. Kyle Casson, a single gay man, had tried in the past to have a child with the same method, but surrogacy clinics across the country turned him away and a female relative who had volunteered to be the carrier developed medical difficulties.

Finally, his parents decided to step in themselves and 46-year-old Anne-Marie Casson became pregnant using a donor egg, fertilised by her son’s sperm. The Court ruled the situation was “entirely lawful” and Kyle has been allowed to adopt the baby. This judgment is justified by the fact that in accordance with English case law, a single person can become the legal parent of a child born via surrogacy only by adopting him or her.

The case has ignited huge controversy, as the participants’ consanguinity raises the spectre of one of the few remaining taboos – incest. The case provoked reactions in the United Kingdom, as the blood relationship between the participants touches the taboo of incest. Twitter reaction to the story ranged from “nothing wrong with this” to “gross”, “disgusting” and “selfish”. Robert Flello, MP, spoke of his “many concerns and worries” about the case. Jill Kirby, social policy analyst, found it “very disturbing that any mother would consider it healthy or appropriate to give birth to her son’s child. What is even more worrying is that the High Court has granted the son an adoption order, partly based on the 'closeness’ of the relationship between the family members involved.”

Anne-Marie Casson countered these attacks by pointing out that the baby she conceived using Kyle’s sperm, 'is not biologically tied to [her], other than he’s [her] grandson". The Lawyer Natalie Gamble, which handled the case, stated that surrogacy using close family members has become commonplace. “We have seen many instances where sisters, brothers-in-law, cousins, help one another out in this fashion,” she said. “It is difficult to speak of precise numbers, but UK law, which does not permit advertising for a surrogate or for a surrogate to offer her services, is pushing couples to look among family members for surrogacy.”

For Natalie Gamble the only issue raised by the Cassons’ case is a legal one. “UK law does not allow singles, like the son [Kyle] in this case, to apply for a parental order, or birth certificate; so the young man had to apply for an adoption order instead.” Gamble is campaigning to change the law, which she feels condemns children to forfeit “a UK birth certificate which reflects their true parentage, and instead must either become adopted children, or live in limbo without resolved legal status”. 

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