As many people realize, whether you’re part of a traditional marriage, in a same-sex relationship or a single person who has always wanted a kid, there are now many more options than there used to be for raising children. One option that has been utilized by those who have had trouble conceiving is in vitro fertilization. However, a recent child custody and surrogacy case that’s grabbed national headlines might have some couples questioning the process and raise concerns for those that have used it in the past.
The case involves a 48-year-old single woman who wanted a child. She found a male friend who was also interested in having a kid and they concocted a plan that would allow them to have a child together, platonically. The male friend agreed to pay for in vitro using his sperm and a donor egg that the woman would then carry to term. Everything went smoothly and the woman gave birth to healthy twins over the summer. Almost the moment after she had given birth the problems started. Apparently the man had different intentions than those discussed with his friend. A social worker appeared in the hospital room to discuss the “surrogacy situation,” a phrase that shocked the woman who believed she was the children’s mother.
The woman says that her friend, whom she only then realized was gay, had evidently been planning to raise the children with his male partner, not the woman who had carried them. While the woman was still hospitalized recovering from the birth, her friend had filed a lawsuit claiming that because the woman had no genetic ties to the children she should be stripped of any custody or visitation rights.
Right now the woman is allowed to see her children only two hours a day, six days a week. However, the battle is not over. The woman feels like her children that she worked so hard to have were stolen from her and her custody fight continues.
One of the biggest problems in this case for the woman is the lack of any written agreement. The woman says the arrangement she had with the father was entirely based on friendship and trust, and that she never thought a formal agreement would be necessary. Depending on the outcome of this case, surrogate mothers everywhere could find themselves in need of more formal legal protections if they want a relationship with the children they bear.
If you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce in Charlotte, contact the experienced child custody lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC who can help guide you through the sometimes-confusing process.
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