Surrogacy horror: Kiwi parents are having to share custody with surrogate

NZ Herald 24 January 2021
After a series of fertility heartbreaks, Anna and Mark thought their family dream was about to come true when an acquaintance offered to carry a child for them, but it all came crashing down when the surrogate wanted to keep the baby. Katie Harris reports.

Anna and Mark are living what many hopeful parents would call a nightmare.

The couple, who the Herald has agreed not to name, are stuck in a shared custody agreement with their surrogate after the woman decided she wanted to keep the child.

Shortly before the woman was due to give birth they claim she essentially cut off contact with the pair.

“There’s nothing worse than not knowing. If we’d been told from the start that she wanted to keep it, it would be easier than just not knowing, because we had no idea whether she would contact us when the baby was born, or what her plan was,” says Anna.

Their fears rang true when the baby did arrive and they weren’t told.

Intended parents like Anna and Mark are at the mercy of their surrogates because under New Zealand law there are no legal protections for either party.

This means that parents who use a surrogate are legally required to adopt their own child, even if the egg and sperm are theirs.

And the surrogate can change their mind about the agreement partway through and keep the child.

It also means if the intended parents no longer want the baby, the surrogate could be left with the child.

Anna and Mark had already gone through multiple failed surrogacy attempts and a miscarriage when an acquaintance offered to carry a child for them.

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