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Another story reveals the rift between family law and technology

The last few posts on this blog have focused heavily on the challenges facing legal systems when it comes to the interface between artificial reproductive capability and the rules of family law.

What we have tried to show is that evolving technologies are throwing traditional views about how families are created and how they're made up into question and the courts in Texas and elsewhere are pressed to help map the route into the future of things. At every fork in the road the rights of individuals, whether they are parents, would-be parents or children, need to be weighed and balanced.

That all this happens in the courts reflects the stake that the government has in the outcomes. It is the role of the experienced family law attorney to advocate for the individual to try to make sure the scales of justice aren't stacked in any one side's favor.

Every case is different, of course, and there is no way to be certain how things will play out. This has been shown once again with a recent case out of Britain. As a result of it a baby boy finds himself in legal limbo as far as family is concerned.

The issue is that the baby was conceived through a commercial surrogacy contract. A single British man paid a woman in Minnesota to carry an embryo created from a separate donated egg and the man's sperm.

A U.S. court has ruled the man is the child's sole parent. The surrogate mother fully agrees with that position. But a judge in Britain says he doesn't have the authority to recognize the father-son relationship. The problem is that British law specifically restricts the use of surrogacy methods to couples. Single people can become parents by adoption, but not by surrogacy.

The father's legal counsel calls the law discriminatory, but the judge says his hands are tied unless Parliament acts to change things. Alternatively, he says the father could seek to have the law declared "incompatible" with his human rights.

It's not clear if that's a route the father will take. Meanwhile, the baby is a ward of the court; a situation that most would likely agree is not ideal.

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