I know I keep promising that I will get to comments and my intentions are really to do just that. But days are busy and I have fallen behind in many areas. So today a short post about a now-oldish story and then–comments–really.
With that in mind, here’s a story about a recent opinion from the Maine Supreme Court. Kristen Labree was a surrogate for Robert and Celia Nolan. Everything went according to plan and both before and after the birth everyone agreed that the Nolans would raise the child. It appears to me that the embryo was created with genetic material from the Nolans.
When the child was born, Labree’s name was placed on the birth certificate (because, after all, she gave birth.) So was her husband’s. (That’s Jeff and he’s there because he is married to the woman who gave birth.)
Everyone wanted to change the birth certificate to the Nolan’s names. Originally the court was going to add Robert Nolan but not Celia. That’s because the ability to legally manipulate paternity is much more readily accepted than the ability to manipulate maternity. But the Maine Supreme Court ordered Celia’s name added as well.
The key here was the use of the gender neutral term “parentage” instead of the gender specific “paternity.” It’s also critical to note that everyone agreed here. In the absence of post-birth agreement, I don’t know what would happen. But when done well, there typically is agreement after the surrogate gives birth.
I confess that I have not had time to read the actual opinion and I really need to do that. It probably answers some of the questions I’m left with. For instance, the news story speaks of terminating the rights of the surrogate–which suggests that she had rights to terminate. That suggests that absent court action, Kristen Labree and not Celia Nolan is a parent. By contrast, I think Robert Nolan established his parentage via genetic linkage and not court action.
I will get to the opinion soon, but there’s enough here to start me thinking again. It’s been a while since surrogacy has been my topic, hasn’t it?