Surrogacy loopholes must be closed now

Beverly Charnock-Bates.
Beverly Charnock-Bates.

I could shout from the top of Big Ben “ Is anybody listening in Westminster to the voices of those who put children first and speak out to protect them?”

Last week I read the story about 24 year old Kyle Casson, the first single man to embark on a journey to become a single parent through UK surrogacy. He knows that when the baby is born he will have no rights to the child but he plans to test the law by being creative and using laws designed for other purposes to secure his position. Adoption or special guardianship? We must wait and see, but whatever legal solution is granted we can be sure it was not structured for surrogacy. In the meantime a baby is to be conceived with the full intention of the mother handing over the newborn at birth to Kyle, then following an anticipated legal battle and a lengthy period of uncertainty for the baby, if his plan comes off, the child will have no mother, only a father. This should be of great concern to all who care about the needs of children and ethics in society. Although it’s not illegal for a single person to have a child through surrogacy in the UK, surrogacy laws are very strict and they make it extremely difficult. Single commissioning parents are excluded from applying for a parental order, the legal order required to re-assign parental status and responsibility to the intended parents. So why would a 24 year old single man enter into a surrogacy arrangement when the legal solution to surrogacy in the UK excludes him because he is single?
Why would he take risks and selfishly exploit an innocent baby to test the law in the hope that his dreams come true and he can catapult himself into the history books of the future?First of all, he wants a baby now, he’s not prepared to wait until he finds a suitable partner. Many would say he is selfish. Secondly, he has taken expert legal advice, which is very sensible. Therefore he is completely aware of the difficulties regarding his status and the chances are that he may never become a parent of the child.
But he’s prepared to take that risk because he wants his baby now and he wants to laugh in the face of the law, which means the baby will be born into a frightfully uncertain future. Whatever the outcome this is likely to be a landmark legal case, which may open the doors for single parent families being built through surrogacy using alternative laws which have been designed to provide protection, stability and a permanent home for children who can never live with their birth parents and so are in desperate need of a secure home and loving family. The Halifax Courier recently reported that I had written to the Prime Minister and with the support of my MP Craig Whittaker, who sits on the Education Select Committee, we have raised concerns with Ministers regarding what appears to be misuse of special guardianship orders and their potential misuse for surrogacy. In my correspondence I predicted that this exact situation of single parent surrogacy using alternative law could happen. Craig Whittaker took my predication seriously, but I’m not sure yet whether anybody else in Westminster has.It is high time we heard a few more voices calling out for children in The House of Commons. 
We must close loopholes that are encouraging people to exploit babies to satisfy their own needs.
Is Craig Whittaker MP the only person in Westminster who cares enough to be doing something to try to stop this? Or must we wait until we have flocks of parents through surrogacy laughing in the face of the law, and singles who want a baby right now, showing off their latest made to order designer babies?

Beverly Charnock-Bates