Gay couple 'have the right' to use surrogate mother and want law change

image sourceChrissy Morgan Photography
image captionDarren and Ben Tudor-Green with Darren's mother at their wedding in October 2016

A married gay couple from Devon say they have the right to have a child of their own, "despite their sexuality".

Darren and Ben Tudor-Green have been speaking out after Tom Daley and husband Dustin Lance Black received abuse after their baby announcement.

"Some people's mentality leaves a lot to be desired," said Darren. "This is about creating life. It shouldn't matter what sexuality you are."

The couple are using a surrogate mother called Mel from the north of England.

British Olympic diver Tom Daley announced he was expecting a baby with his husband, US film director Dustin Lance Black, on Valentine's Day.

They both shared the news on their social media accounts.

But the pair received a barrage of abuse on social media afterwards.

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Darren and Ben say they had a good experience finding Mel, the surrogate mother, but did have a negative one earlier in the process while trying to find a woman to have their baby.

Surrogacy is when a woman becomes pregnant with the intention of giving the child to its parents after birth.

image sourceFamily handout
image captionSurrogate mum Melissa is due to give birth to Darren and Ben's baby on 21 April - she already has her own child with her husband

"We initially matched with a surrogate and then found that we were criticised and badmouthed by her friends and subsequently by her, which put a strain on our lives."

Ben said the couple were ousted from one surrogacy Facebook group because of the controversy around surrogacy and same-sex couples.

"Finding a surrogate is not easy and you may find along the way that you are in competition with other intended parents (IPs) without realising it, as there are more IPs than surrogates," the couple said.

image sourceChrissy Morgan Photography
image captionThe couple say they would like to to see UK surrogacy law changed

British law says the surrogate stays legally responsible for the child until parental rights are transferred through a parental order, which must be signed off by the surrogate and her partner no earlier than six weeks after the birth of the baby.

It is also illegal to pay a surrogate in the UK except for what is classed as "reasonable expenses", which Ben says average between £8,000-£15,000 in the UK, depending on surrogate's salary.

Ben said the current process involves a "lot of trust" between the couple and the surrogate, and before the parental order is signed the surrogate could decide to keep the child, with expectant couples having few legal rights.

The couple are calling for "clarity" on the published guidance on surrogacy, which was released at the end of last month for the first time.

The Law Commission included surrogacy in one of 14 areas of law to be reviewed over the next three years.

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