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Gay Couple Win Custody Battle

A High Court judge has ruled that a gay couple should have custody of a baby girl rather than the surrogate mother.

The woman said they had agreed for her to be the main parent of the child, but the father, who donated sperm, said that the woman had agreed to be a surrogate for him and his partner.

It was deemed that the one-year-old should be removed from the custody of her mother and placed with her father as it was in “the best interests” of the girl.

Mr Justice Russell said: "The pregnancy was contrived with the aim of a same-sex couple having a child to form a family assisted by a friend.

"Therefore [the girl] living with [the two men] and spending time with [the woman] from time to time, fortunately, coincides with the reality of her conception and accords with [the girl's] identity and place within her family."

Disruption In Court

The judge also condemned the woman for her actions in court for being disruptive when the men were giving evidence. The woman frequently stopped to give breast milk in a move that was described by the court as an attempt to minimise the importance a father has in a child's life.

It was noted by the court that interruptions were frequently less when the woman was giving evidence. The judge ruled that the woman "Has consistently done all she can to minimise the role that [the father] had in the child's life and to control and curtail his contact with his daughter.

"Far from being a child that she conceived with her good friend, as she describes it, her actions have always been of a woman determined to treat the child as solely her own."

Surrogate Law In The UK

Under UK law, any woman that gives birth to a child is the mother regardless of whether the child is genetically hers or if her husband is the legal father. It is believed that around 2,000 children are born every year in the UK.

More support and a clearer system have been called for in order to stop disputes over child custody, especially when it comes to surrogacy.

Natalie Gamble, a solicitor, specialising in surrogacy law, stated to the BBC that under current law, each surrogacy case had risk of dispute and urged the UK to follow “much better” examples across the world.

She said: "Everybody entering into a surrogacy arrangement has psychological screening, legal advice, medical advice and support to think through all the issues and enter into a very clear contract.

"In the UK we don't have that kind of front-ended support".

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