A judge in the United Kingdom has awarded a surrogate mother custody of a child she is not biologically related to, calling the gay couple's treatment of the surrogate "manipulative and dishonest… at the very least, potentially exploitative," the Daily Mail has reported.
The woman, who agreed to be a surrogate for the UK couple after a 30-minute meeting that took place at a Burger King, was deemed to be unable to "consent freely or unconditionally" to the agreement due to a learning disability. Still, the judge ruled that she is "better able to meet" the child's needs than the couple.
The baby boy is biologically the product of the sperm of one of the men and an anonymous egg donor from the USA. The judge ruled that the surrogate will retain primary custody of the child, granting the couple one weekend every eight weeks.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the surrogate said: "He is my little boy. I gave birth to him. I felt him kick for the first time. I’m the one now breastfeeding him. He’s happy and so loved. I’m absolutely terrified I’m going to lose him."
After meeting the couple in a secret Facebook group that matches surrogates with couples looking to have children, the surrogate became suspicious of the couple's intentions after another woman in the group contacted her, saying that she had been previously underpaid by the couple and left with medical complications from the pregnancy.
Both the couple and the surrogate chose to remain anonymous throughout the case and while speaking with the media.