Gestational Surrogates Win Custody Rulings in Michigan and New Jersey

There is a significant ruling out of New Jersey on the rights of gestational surrogate who gave birth to twin girls who are not genetically related to her. Angelia G. Robinson, agreed to have the children in 2006 for her brother, Donald Robinson Hollingsworth and his spouse, Sean Hollingsworth. The men arranged for the use of an anonymous donor’s eggs and fertilized with sperm from Sean Hollingsworth. The decision follows a similar win by a gestational surrogate in Michigan.

Donald Robinson Hollingsworth is an accountant in Manhattan and must now share custody the baby. The decision represents a growing split among the states which have both embraced and rejected such claims in different cases.

The decision would wipe away the legal distinction between gestational and conventional surrogacy (where the woman’s actual eggs are used).

Ms. Robinson claims that she was coerced into the arrangement. In the Superior Court decision, Judge Francis B. Schultz relied on the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1988 in the case of Baby M. However, in that case, the surrogate, Mary Beth Whitehead, carried her own genetic child for another couple after artificial insemination with the man’s sperm. She was recognized as having maternal rights. The Baby M court also held (in a controversial pont) that the “surrogacy contract is based on principles that are directly contrary to the objectives of our laws. It guarantees the separation of a child from its mother; it looks to adoption regardless of suitability; it totally ignores the child; it takes the child from the mother regardless of her wishes and maternal fitness.” The judge has attracted criticism of women’s groups in the past for his rulings on the ability to get restraining orders, here.

The case tracks a similar dispute in Michigan where Grand Rapids couple Amy Kehoe and her husband Scott arranged for the use of a gestational surrogate, Laschell Baker after acquiring an egg from Michigan pre-med student and sperm from a sperm bank. Baker succeeded in gaining custody of the twins. She claimed that she took the action after learning that that Kehoe was being treated for a mental illness.

For the Michigan story, click here.

For the New Jersey story, click here and here.

22 thoughts on “Gestational Surrogates Win Custody Rulings in Michigan and New Jersey”

  1. As a surrogate, I’m disgusted by your lack of open-mindedness. I am an educated professional who happens to find herself lucky to not have infertility issues and has decided to “pay it forward”. I am currently working with a couple that is very much like me but experiencing the heartache of infertility. In my case, the mother has a medical condition that causes her body to reject the fetus tissues immediately. Should these people not ever get to see their own genetic children because of that, when modern medicine surely allows it?

    I, too, have read “the giver” and “brave new world” and this is neither of those situations. Yes, those that can afford the infertility treatments are the ones that will get the surrogates (unless our country changes the health care system drastically). Birth-moms are not looking for a quick buck, they’re not “selling their bodies”, they are simply trying to help out another. Good will toward men and all that jazz. No, this is not something that would work for every situation. Yes, it’s a hard road. But why should we make it illegal for a couple to find a way to achieve their dream of parenthood when the 14 year old down the street just got knocked up and dropped her baby in a trash can.

    Until parenthood requires a license and permit, as established by the government, they shouldn’t get involved in it AT ALL. It’s enforcing rules only on those that have certain traits, infertility.

  2. I have heard a lot about this case and the would be mom had part of parinoid psychosis and heard voices. She didnt tell the surrogate she had this problem mentally. There has to be more to the story that the media is not saying , I wonder if this case will produce a book or movie …that would be nice to find the truth.
    I also found out that the would be parents never even got to bring the babies home from the hospital in the begining , that the surrogate had to. That to me shows some type of irresponsiblity and even neglect!

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