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Gay couple win high-profile surrogacy battle in Thailand

Joe Williams April 26, 2016

A court in Thailand has awarded custody of a baby to a same-sex couple after a high-profile custody battle with a Thai surrogate mother.

The Thai surrogate handed over the baby girl to Gordon Lake and Manuel Santos after her birth last year – but ten days later, she refused to sign the documentation needed to allow the couple to obtain a passport for the infant.

They claimed she is refused to let them leave because they were gay and wanted the baby to be brought up by an “ordinary couple”.

“I was flabbergasted, in a complete state of shock. It’s your worst nightmare in a process like this. I didn’t believe it,” Mr Lake said at the time.

“We were terrified.”

The couple have been in Thailand since launching their legal battle after Carmen was born in January 2015.

Mr Lake has said he blamed the surrogacy agency for not explaining that the couple were gay to the mother.

She said the surrogate knew the couple were gay from the beginning of the process, but that the Lake and Santo had not followed New Life’s instructions, leaving the situation “unmanageable”.

However, a the co-founder of New Life Global Network, Mariam Kukunashvili, has stated she believes the agency have done nothing wrong.

Since the country’s military coup two years ago, the Thai government has come down hard on Thailand’s loose surrogacy laws, leading to a number of high-profile scandals that eventually led to a ban on the industry.

Many surrogacy agencies, including New Life Global, have since been forced to close.

The couple now plan to return to the US with their daughter, who has lived with them in Thailand since her birth.

Last year, a gay couple in the UK won a battle to have a baby girl conceived through surrogacy returned to them – after the mother claimed she did not know the men were gay before she gave birth.

More: Asia, gay couples, gordon lake, LGBT, manuel santos, same sex parents, surrogate, Thailand, Thailand

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