Court case to determine validity of a surrogacy contract○$10,000 woman artificially inseminated with couples sperm, agrees to surrender baby after birth to couple○Contract deemed ILLEGAL ■Conflicts with law and public policy of the state■“Potentially degrading to women”■Surrogate mother kept custody of child, father still has custody➢February 1985○William Stern, Mary Beth Whitehead○Stern’s wife infertile, Whitehead agreed to surrogate with Stern’s sperm and her egg for $10K➢Whitehead agreed to terminate maternal rights after delivery➢Mr Stern was only Holocaust survivor in family, wanted to continue bloodline➢Adoption - old and differing religious beliefs➢Mr Stern and Mr and Mrs Whitehead created a surrogate parenting agreement, delivered BABY M (Melissa) on 3/27/1986○Acted as proud parents at hospital○Indicated feelings of attachment when sterns came to visit➢March 30th → turned child over to the Sterns➢Next day, told Sterns she needed a week with the child...they turned child over...then Whitehead refused to return child○Sterns filed a complaint seeking reinforcement of contract➢Whiteheads left New Jersey, took baby to Florida➢Mrs. Whitehead phone conversations with mr. Stern recorded○Threats to kill herself and child○Threats to falsely accuse Mr. Stern of molesting Mrs.Whiteheads older daughter➢Sterns finally found out location at grandparents in Florida, obtained an order for child to be turned overTrial conclusion: Surrogacy contract valid, Mrs Whiteheads parental rights terminated, sole custody granted to Mr. Stern, and Mrs. Stern adoption of Melissa allowed➢Surrogacy contract conflicts with laws prohibiting use of money in connection with adoption ○Child sold without considering if suitable parents○Natural mother given no counseling/guidance in decision making○Decision less voluntary due to monetary incentiveContract Invalid
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Surrogacy, Sperm donation, William Stern, Baby M, ○ Sterns
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