Anne-Marie and Kyle Casson
This week’s story from Britain wins the New Frontiers Award in Assisted Reproductive Technology hands down.
Twenty-four-year-old Kyle Casson, a supermarket worker, was gay but was desperate to have a child. One of his relatives volunteered to be a surrogate, but when she pulled out for medical reasons, Kyle’s mother stepped forward.
So Kyle shopped around for a donor with the right hair and eye colour and organised fertilisation and implantation at an IVF clinic.
Eight months ago 46-year-old Anne-Marie Casson gave birth to Miles by C-section.
It is believed to be the first time that a single man has had a baby through surrogacy in the UK.
The relationships of the three people are tangled, to say the least. Anne-Marie is the mother of Kyle, and both the mother and the grandmother of Miles. Miles is both the half-brother and the son of Kyle. Kyle is both the son and the “husband” of Anne-Marie.
The ethical complexities do not trouble Kyle. He told the Daily Mail:
“I understand that not everyone will agree with it, but they can have their opinions. I have a son and I am very happy. As long as people can provide a home, and they have the support, I don’t see why anyone should be denied the right to be a parent. Regardless of sexuality, gender, as long as you can provide for the child, I don’t see what the problem is. I paid for it myself, it’s not taxpayers’ money, I own my own home, I am going back to work.”
The case was legally tangled as well. Under English law, Anne-Marie and her husband are the legal parents. Kyle had to apply for an adoption, but normally a surrogate mother must hand over the child to two parents.
However Mrs Justice Theis ruled that the child would be properly cared for and that the adoption could go ahead. She observed that the arrangement was “unusual” but “entirely legal”. She was particularly impressed by the fact that Kyle had given his decision careful consideration. “The court’s paramount consideration is (the little boy’s) lifelong welfare,” she said. “What is apparent from the reports is that the parties thought carefully about this arrangement, pausing, reflecting and seeking advice at each stage.”
Despite the unconventional relationships, Anne-Marie was still conservative about some details. She wanted a C-section rather than a vaginal birth for a perfectly conventional reason: “He is my son, I love my son, but there are certain things that he can’t and should not see.”