Thursday, 20 June 2013

Tina's surrogate baby – legal and ethical considerations

A guest post by Coronation Street Blog reader Hannah Warder (@HannahWarder)

The baby Jake (or should we say “Joe”) storyline on Coronation Street is currently in full flow, and it is getting more dramatic with each episode. It’s hardly surprising when the topic is so sensitive; parents everywhere are able to relate to the heartache that everyone involved would be experiencing if it was a real life event. As a viewer, it is possible to see many sides of the story and argument. Here is what we can gather from each character by what has been shown so far.

Tina: As the surrogate for the baby, Tina spent a number of months experiencing all of the highs and lows of pregnancy, something that clearly affected her emotionally. When the baby was actually born, she soon realised how much she wanted to be his mother. She is so wrapped up in her love for the baby that she cannot part with it, despite knowing that it isn’t genetically hers.

Gary: As the biologically father to the baby boy, Gary wants to have him signed over to him and Izzy as soon as possible. When Tina said she was going to keep the baby, Gary was angry and upset. He believes that Tina isn’t thinking straight and is being purposely vindictive; she won’t let them see the baby, she has renamed the baby, and she plans on raising it (with the help of Tommy).

Izzy: Poor old Izzy felt left out during the pregnancy as she wasn’t able to contribute fully during the antenatal classes due to her disability. She felt as though Gary was enjoying the experience more than she was (and perhaps she was right as Gary did indeed try it on with Tina during a moment of madness) so she was very happy when the baby was born, even though he was premature. It was already emotional for Izzy, and that was before Tina decided that she was going to keep the baby.

What is the ethical resolution?

The story is a complicated one, but most people would agree that the baby belongs to Gary and Izzy. People may say that the situation was flawed in the first place due to paying Tina to be the surrogate, but once a life had been created with the genes of both Gary and Izzy, the baby is biologically theirs.

Tina was due to sign off parental responsibility to the couple in the hospital, but since refusing to do this, she has been quite public with her decision. People now know she has changed the baby’s name from “Jake” to “Joe”, and has banned Gary and Izzy from visiting the baby in the hospital. The situation could get even more complicated if Tina ends up bringing the baby home to the street where his biological mum and dad could see him each and every day, but not get the chance to engage and interact with him.

I think that the best resolution from an ethical point of view would be for people to speak to Tina about the situation, whilst taking into account the emotional attachment she must feel. It may be difficult for her to let Jake go, but she would be able to access healthcare services for therapy or counselling.

What is the legal resolution?

I’ve been reading about family law on some other blogs and websites too. The section about family law on Ramsdens’ website (1) shows that there are many types of issues that can arise when the custody of children is in question, and it seems that specialist solicitors are important for getting a resolution. Tina knows that her legal battle could be expensive, which is why she is keeping the money that Owen (Izzy’s dad) gave to her for being the surrogate. Although it has just come to light that Rita would like to pay the legal fees instead so we’ll have to see what comes of this.

Another blogger (2) has said: “There is supposed to be a court hearing now. Whether we’ll get that far is another question. Will Tina give in? Will the judge say, “Sorry, the law is clear. She can keep the baby’.” This remains to be seen, but it would be interesting to see how true to life the story would be if this did happen. However, I think most parties would prefer a resolution out of court.

Coronation Street returns on Friday when Tina wonders if she's made the right decision in keeping baby Joe as she struggles to breastfeed him (3)... tune in to see what happens! What do you think the best resolution would be?

Resources:

Thank you to the following websites who made this blog post possible.
1)    Family Mediation solicitors on Ramsdens.co.uk
2)    The Moral Choice blog post
3)    Coronation Street Episode Guide on TVguide.co.uk.

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11 comments:

Billy Niblick said...

It would seem that people really do give their children the name "Jake". Perhaps they imagine they're Carribean pirates. Can't really blame Tina for saving the baby from a lifettime bearing that god-awful name.

Stevie Dawson said...

I think a big part of the decision came from Gary trying to snog Tina and the resulting fall-out. I think she has every right to back out of the deal considering the fractious situation Joe would be going into.

That said, can she really offer the baby more security?

I'm 50/50.

Newfy Pearl said...

With the way the Windass/Armstrong clan took to Tina. I thought she would be the special friend of the family, honorary aunt, etc.
I can see why Tina would want to keep the child with Izzy going off of her head - ironic that Izzy got the same punishment she was meting out to Gary - that of keeping him away from his baby.
Say what you will about how the writers worked with this storyline....they got people talking!

Anonymous said...

Tina is going to give the baby back because she can't support him..she can't eve take care of herself. Even though the characters of Izzy and Gary are far from perfect, they should raise their son. Rita is going to get mad I think and pretty soon too. She'll talk sense into Tina and if she goes along with Tina's plan, Dennis should threaten to leave.

Anonymous said...

I think the writers will use the Biblical story of Solomon where 2 women were claiming to be a baby's mother. His decision was to cut the baby in half, which made the real mother step up and say the other woman could have the baby. Because a REAL mother wouldn't want anything bad happen to her baby. So Izzy (the REAL mother) will cede the baby to Tina to stop all the stress of the legalities of it all.

Then (hopefully) Tina will see the sacrifice Izzy was willing to make for the baby and will realize the baby really belongs with Izzy.

~JB in Canada

abbyk said...

I am generally a fan of Tina but think Izzy should be the baby's mother. Tina is normally quick tempered and acts before she thinks, but she has never been a malicious character. She should never, ever have been allowed to be a surrogate -- no real world social worker or psychologist would have approved her had there been a test. She was in no way prepared, had no inkling as to what was to come emotionally, and was acting purely out of desperation. Her current behavior can easily be ascribed to some combination of post partum depression/hormone fluxes, the massive immaturity Gary and Izzy displayed in the ICU (what's best for baby?), and 7 months of enduring the intrusive creepy Windass Armstrongs.?

This story has been another tram wreck and needs to wrap. Hopefully, as soon as the Kylie's baby daddy arc sorts itself out, we have seen the last of these sensationalist, plot driven, reality-skirting nonsense stories for a long while.

freda said...

But...Tina accepted money and that is against the law,and if the case went to court then this should be put forward that they paid her money for this child which is no way round it illegal in the UK.

Anonymous said...

Here's what's confusing me:

a few years ago I was wrestling with the decision about whether to use a donor egg to get pregnant.

If I had gone ahead with that, gotten pregnant and carried a child to term, without legal protection I suppose the egg donor could have decided in the eleventh hour she wanted 'her' baby back, even though it wouldn't technically speaking be her child.

The real problem seems to be that there are not two laws: one for surrogacy, the other for the use of donor eggs or sperm. They're almost inverted cases of each other!

Anonymous said...

The whole story line is wrong since Tina should never been associated with the Windasses in the first place. The Windasses are the ones that pushed Tina's father to suicide buy not paying for the kitchen renovations.

Alpha Parent said...

A lot of legal ignorance being spouted here.

Tina is legally the mother: fact. Even though she accepted money for her 'services', she can argue that this was for 'reasonable expenses' which is legitimate under UK law.

Betty researching surrogacy and law said...

I would think that the legality of the mother being being her mother would play a role in this decision. Thanks for sharing.

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