THE mother of a gay man has told how she gave birth to his baby after a surrogate pregnancy.
Anne-Marie Casson, 46, gave birth to a boy, Miles, who is now eight months old, after she became pregnant with a donor egg fertilised by the sperm of her son Kyle Casson.
He is understood to be the first single man to have a child through surrogacy in the UK, and the first to use his own mother as a surrogate.
The arrangement emerged after a High Court judge ruled that Mr Casson can now adopt the baby and become his legal father, even though he is also the infant’s brother in the eyes of the law.
Mrs Casson has now told the Daily Mail how she felt compelled to help her son have a baby, saying: “When he first came to me and his dad, I thought ‘I could do it’. Some people, when they did find out, said ‘urgh’, but they don’t understand.
“He is not biologically tied to me, other than he’s my grandson. I love being a parent and for Kyle to experience that, I would do that for him.”
Mrs Casson stepped in after another female relative who had been initially lined up as a surrogate found she was unable to do it.
As a single man Mr Casson had been turned away by several surrogacy clinics across the country and, desperate to have a child, he felt his only option was his mother.
The process at a private IVF clinic cost between £12,000 and £14,000. She gave birth to Miles last July by caesarean section.
Speaking publicly for the first time Mr Casson, 27, a supermarket worker, said: “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.”
Mr Casson, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said he would tell Miles about his conception, adding: “I am never going to lie to him. We will tell him at appropriate stages in his life, you have to be truthful, there is no other way. He will also know that he is very much wanted.’
It is not illegal for single parents to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, but the law prevents them from applying for an order that they need to legally raise their child in the UK.
In a High Court adoption ruling handed down last week, Mrs Justice Theis said that under the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which governs surrogacy arrangements, the woman who carried the child is the legal mother.
Her husband is the legal father because he consented to the pregnancy – and both are named on Miles’s birth certificate.
The rules stipulate that a surrogate mother must hand over a child to two parents – usually a couple ‘in an enduring family relationship’.
Under the law, it would be a crime to hand over the baby to the biological father alone.
But the judge ruled that the adoption would not break the law because the baby and its father are legally related as brothers. Social workers backed the adoption, saying it would ‘strengthen the bond the father and child already share’.
Some single men are believed to have travelled abroad to America or India where they have been able to father a child through surrogacy.
But in Britain the law only allows two parents to apply for a parental order for any surrogate child born this way.
A number of critics described Judge Theis’s ruling as ‘dubious’ and called for urgent reforms to prevent abuses of fertility law.
Mr Casson admitted some people had questioned his decision to have a child when he is single, and only 27.
He told the Daily Mail: “Even my dad said that – why don’t you wait to meet someone. But nobody can guarantee that I will meet anyone. I did not choose to be gay, I was born that way. I was born being unable to have kids. I can’t just go and have sex with a woman. Being a dad was a high priority in my life and now I have done it."
Mr Casson said the reaction of friends and family had been "overwhelmingly positive", apart from one friend.
“She said she thought my mum would interfere but of course she will, she is his grandma – that is what grandmas are for. Touch wood, I have had no negative reaction,” he said.
The surrogacy process was started last year, when Mr Casson visited a clinic and began selecting characteristics he would like, including hair and eye colour.
He said: “The clinic I went to was really good. They have radio advertising telling people they are after a donor, so luckily at the time I did it, there were no waiting lists. I did not expect to get someone so quickly. They said, ‘by the way, we have found someone for you’.
“They wrote down on a piece of paper the characteristics and said, ‘have a few days, mull it over and let us know what you think’. So I said yes."
Referring to the decision to have a C-section, Mrs Casson said: "He is my son, I love my son, but there are certain things that he can’t and should not see."
Following the procedure Miles was passed to Mr Casson straight away.
He said: “I cried again then, I could not believe it. ‘And I did not know what he would look like, because you do not know the donor, but people say he looks like me.”
Mr Casson, who is planning to return to work next month, while his mother helps out with childcare duties says he’s ‘loving’ being a dad, but added: “I wasn’t a massive fan of the baby stage. He had acid reflux – I was really worried because I did not know what was wrong with him. So that was hard work, and I was tired and worried.”
It comes after Mary Portas, the Government’s former adviser on high street regeneration, disclosed how her own brother helped her become a mother for the third time, after he become a donor for an IVF procedure.
Portas's wife Melanie Rickey became pregnant with their son thanks to help from her younger brother Lawrence.
In her ruling on the Casson case, Justice Theis said: "(The baby) has lived with ... his biological father since birth. All the reports describe (the man's) care of (the baby) as being to a high standard.
"(The baby) was born following a surrogacy arrangement whereby the gestational surrogate was (the man's) mother. (Her husband) fully supported this.
"This, admittedly, unusual arrangement was entered into by the parties after careful consideration, following each having individual counselling and with all the treatment being undertaken by a fertility clinic licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)."
The judge added: "The arrangement the parties entered into is not one, as far as I am aware, that either this court or the clinic has previously encountered and although highly unusual, is entirely lawful under the relevant statutory provisions."