Bangkok : A Thai court granted a foreign same-sex couple full custody of their surrogate baby following a high-profile legal battle with the mother who refused to hand her over after giving birth.
Manuel Valero (in pic), from Spain, and his American husband Gordon Lake were blocked from leaving Thailand with their daughter Carmen after the surrogate declined to sign necessary paperwork following the birth in January 2015.
They accused the mother, Patidta Kusonsrang, of reneging on the surrogacy once she discovered the couple were gay. Rachapol Sirikulchit, the couple’s lawyer, told reporters the court had granted “sole custody to Gordon Allan Lake” after the court ruling in Bangkok. Reporters were not allowed inside to hear the ruling. “We are really happy that this nightmare is going to end soon,” a tearful Valero told reporters outside court. “After 15 months Carmen will fly to Spain. We don’t know when but it will be soon,” he added. The two men, who live in Spain but are currently caring for the child in Bangkok, have spent more than a year fighting a custody battle.
It was complicated by recent changes to Thailand’s surrogacy laws and the fact that the kingdom does not legally recognise same-sex marriage. Their other child, a son, has spent the past year living with Valero’s sister in Spain. The surrogate mother Patidta denied in local press interviews when the row surfaced that she refused permission because the couple were gay.