Scottish Daily Mail


- By Claire Duffin

A MOTHER told last night how she became a surrogate and gave birth to her gay son’s baby.

Anne-Marie Casson, 46, became pregnant with a donor egg fertilised by sperm from supermarke­t worker Kyle Casson. The boy, Miles, is now eight months old. Mrs Casson said: ‘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.’

Her son is the first single man to have a child through surrogacy in the UK, and the first to use his own mother as a surrogate.

A fertility clinic arranged the pregnancy using a donor egg.

Mrs Casson offered to have the baby – with her husband’s consent – after plans by their son to have an IVF child with another woman relative collapsed. He had wanted to be a father for a number of years.

Miles Casson was born in July last year at full term. The youngster now lives with his father in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

The arrangemen­t emerged only earlier this week when a High Court judge ruled that the son can now adopt the baby boy and become his legal father – even though in the eyes of the law he is also the infant’s brother.

IMPATIENT to be a father, Kyle Casson was j ust 24 when he decided to seek out a surrogate to carry his child.

But being a single gay man, his options were limited.

Turned away by surrogacy clinics across the country, his only option was his 45-year-old mother Anne-Marie. Last July – in a unique case that has divided opinion across Britain – she gave birth to her son’s son by Caesarean section.

Miles, now eight months old, is Mr Casson’s biological son created by his sperm and an anonymous donor egg implanted into Mrs Casson’s womb. In the eyes of the law, he is also Miles’s brother.

Shrugging off the potential ethical and moral dilemmas posed by his actions, Mr Casson, 27, said last night: ‘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, a supermarke­t worker from Doncaster, is 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 process at a private IVF clinic cost between £12,000 and £14,000.

He said he would tell Miles about his conception: ‘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.’

While it is not illegal for single parents to enter into a surrogacy arrangemen­t, the law prevents them from applying for an order that they need to legally raise their child in the UK.

Mrs Casson stepped in after another female relative – initially lined up as a surrogate – found she was unable to do it.

Mr Casson said his mother knew he was desperate to be a father. When he asked for her help, she agreed immediatel­y.

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.

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 argued that the adoption would not break laws 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’.

But critics described the procedure as ‘dubious’ and called for urgent reforms to prevent abuses of fertility law.

Last night, Mrs Casson, a carer, said: ‘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.’

Mr Casson said people may question his decision to have a child when he is single, and only 27. ‘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 chose 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.’

He said the reaction from 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 i s his grandma – that is what grandmas are for. Touch wood, I have had no negative reaction.’

Mr Casson, who has younger twin brothers, was four when his mother separated from his biological father. Anne-Marie went on to marry Alan Casson, 43, who adopted the boys and raised them as his own.

Kyle said he had always wanted to become a father but initially believed his only option was adoption. He then looked into surrogacy and decided he wanted a biological son.

However, there are difficulti­es. Until now, it is understood that no single man or woman in Britain has been able to become a parent with the help of a donor egg and a British surrogate. 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.

Even though Mr Casson’s sperm was used to fertilise the donor egg, he initially had no rights over the child. He had to apply to adopt the child – which was rubberstam­ped by Mrs Justice Theis last week.

He started the surrogacy process last year, visiting a clinic and selecting characteri­stics he would like, including hair and eye colour. ‘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

‘I can’t just go and have sex with a woman’

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.’

The anonymous donor is then given hormones to stimulate egg growth. Her identity is never revealed, with the clinic even booking appointmen­ts for her and Mr Casson on different days so they did not inadverten­tly bump into each other.

‘Then my surrogate – my mum – had to be ready as well. The clinic do not like to freeze the eggs, they say fresh is better, so they get the surrogate and they get the donor at the same point in their cycles when they transfer the eggs.’ Mr Casson added: ‘ We were very lucky. My mum had a full MOT from her own doctor and the clinic to say that she was fit to carry a child.

‘Every single one [of the donor eggs] fertilized. But as each day went, I had less and less. There is usually a five-day wait, from when the eggs are collected and fertilized to when the embryo is planted. We got to day three and they called me up and said, “we’re really sorry but you only have one embryo left”.

‘I was really disappoint­ed. I had already given up by that point – I was convinced it wasn’t going to work.

‘But the woman at the clinic was really nice and she said, “you only need one”. I had completely given up hope, and my mum’s age was a factor too, so I thought it wasn’t going to work. I was gutted.’

He then watched a screen as doctors implanted the embryo inside his mother. ‘Normally you wait 18 days to do a normal pregnancy test. But there was no way I could wait that long bearing in mind that was my first and last chance.

‘So we had a blood test after 11 days. They had a hotline that you ring and they tell you if you are pregnant or not. I was waiting ages and I was ringing and then it got to 15 minutes past the time we were meant to call – and you only have a 30-minute window – and no one was answering the phone. I thought, “right, that’s it, we’re not pregnant”.

‘But the woman we have been dealing with throughout, waited until she had finished in surgery to ring me and tell me we were pregnant, which was really nice – I cried.’

He added: ‘I was so relieved. I could have afforded to do it again, but I would have had to wait a good five years to save up again.’

Mrs Casson said: ‘This sounds strange, but I always said I knew from when they put the embryo in.’

Mr Casson added: ‘What was great about the surrogate being my mum was I went to every appointmen­t, I saw the midwife every time, I was at every scan. And I was at the birth – well, technicall­y, it was a C-section. I opted for a C-section because it gave my mum some dignity and, not only that, even she said, “it’s not my baby – I don’t want to push”.’

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.’

Miles was passed to Mr Casson straight away.

‘I cried again then, I could not believe it,’ he said. ‘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 says he’s ‘loving’ being a father, 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.’

Mr Casson will return to work next month, with his mother taking over the childcare duties.

 ??  ?? Desperate to be a dad: Kyle Casson and eight-month-old Miles
Desperate to be a dad: Kyle Casson and eight-month-old Miles
 ??  ?? Anne-Marie Casson: She carried her son’s child
Anne-Marie Casson: She carried her son’s child
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 ??  ?? Thriving: Miles (left) is now eight months. Main picture: Mr Casson and Anne-Marie
Thriving: Miles (left) is now eight months. Main picture: Mr Casson and Anne-Marie
 ??  ?? A dad at last: Kyle Casson cradles baby Miles
A dad at last: Kyle Casson cradles baby Miles
 ??  ?? Loved: Miles in image his father posted online
Loved: Miles in image his father posted online
 ??  ?? IVF: Fertilised embryos used in the process
IVF: Fertilised embryos used in the process
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