Two gay fathers were nearly bankrupted after a surrogate refused to hand over their premature twin daughters unless they gave her more money.
Steven and Marc Winchester-Horscraft from Shropshire, England, were left with £43,000 in debt from a bitter legal battle over the newborns, who were fighting for their lives in intensive care.
After paying the surrogate’s pregnancy expenses in full, which amounted to almost £17,000 due to the twin birth, they claim the surrogate’s boyfriend demanded an additional £3,000 before she would sign the parental order.
When they were unable to pay this the surrogate reportedly texted them to say she would not be putting Steven – the biological father – on the birth certificate. She refused to hand over parental responsibility for the children, gave the babies new names and claimed her boyfriend was the father.
Marc and Steven already had a son through another surrogate and were excited to complete their family. The couple reportedly had good relations with the woman up to this point, having befriended her before the pregnancy and even inviting her and her boyfriend to their wedding.
The pregnancy ran smoothly until August 2019, when the surrogate went into labour at 28 weeks. Steven said this was “only the very beginning of our long, excruciating nightmare.”
“One evening when we got home from visiting our girls, our surrogate’s partner came over to our house, and was asking for more money,” Steven said. “They wanted another 3k, which at this point we just did not have.
“Putting everything into the care of our twins, buying all the essential equipment needed for newborns, we were already in minus funds.”
When they refused to give her the additional money the surrogate prevented Steven and Marc from seeing the twins or receiving any information about their welfare.
“Before the first hearing our surrogate called the hospital and [put] a ban on us seeing our girls or knowing anything about their care,” Steven said.
“Imagine not being able to know anything about your sick, premature newborn children. At this point they were extremely poorly so we did not even know if they were alive.”
Feeling “lost and terrified” that they would lose their children, the desperate couple pursued legal action and were forced to take out loans of up to £26,000 to cover their fees.
They endured multiple hearings before DNA tests eventually confirmed Steven was the father, and they were finally reunited with their baby girls six weeks later.
But the couple are now left with huge financial costs in addition to the “emotional [and] mental trauma” from the experience. They have launched a GoFundMe page to help pay off their debt.
“We are both nurses and have spent our working lives caring for others. I guess I am just hoping for some help from others in order to get us out of this awful situation,” Steven said.
“Due to our surrogate’s actions we have not been able to enjoy the time we have had with our girls. Both having to try and work as much as we possibly can to break even and get us out of this downward spiral.
“We would be eternally grateful for any help at all.”
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