A Spanish couple, Gordon Lake and Manuel Valero, have started a crowdfunding campaign to help them fight for custody of their 14-month-old daughter, Carmen, after their surrogate refused to sign the papers necessary to get Carmen a passport.
The Thai surrogate, Patidta Kusolsang, is not biologically related to the child. Lake is Carmen's biological father, and the couple used an anonymous egg donor.
Despite Kusolsang not being biologically related to Carmen, Thai law grants the birth mother automatic custody.
Thailand also recently banned commercial surrogacy. Lake and Valero's case is complicated by the new laws, as the criteria for couples seeking surrogacy now require couples to be legally married for a minimum of three years and have at least one partner be a citizen of Thailand. Thai law does not recognise gay marriage.
After giving Carmen to her parents and discovering that they were a gay couple, Kusolsang refused to sign over custody and is now fighting them for custody, effectively trapping the family in Thailand as they wait for the case to be heard.
She has told the media that she suspects the couple of human trafficking, and told NPR last year that “they are not natural parents in Thai society. They are same-sex, not like male and female that can take care of babies”.
The trial is set to begin on March 31, and the Bangkok Post reports that Thai trials can go on for as long as three years.
“We’re the people that wanted to have a child. We just want to go home and we want to be a family. A normal, boring family," Lake told The Telegraph.
The couple has reportedly been hiding out with Carmen in Thailand as they wait for the trial to begin, worried that their daughter will be taken from them.
The family's lawyer, Rachapol Sirikulchit, remains confident that the couple will win the custody battle and finally be able to return to Spain.