Human Exceptionalism

Surrogate Fights Gay Couple for Child Custody

Brave New Reproduction has casualties. In Texas, a surrogate mother is fighting for custody against a gay couple. From the KHOU, Houston story:

An unusual custody battle involving a surrogate mother and two Houston men is playing out in a Harris County courtroom.Cindy Close,  48, gave birth to twins at Texas Children’s Medical Center in July, but on the night of their birth she was visited by a social worker. “She told me we had a surrogacy situation,” Close said. “I looked at her and said ‘I’m not a surrogate, what are you talking about?’” Close said that she had been duped by Marvin McMurrey, a man who she said had pretended to be her friend and allegedly promised to be a partner in raising the children. He had paid for her in vitro fertilization using his sperm and a donor egg. When the children were born, he claimed custody with his partner.

Close said they were not in a romantic relationship and that she never even knew he was gay. “We didn’t have everything nailed down because it was based on trust,” Close said. “There was never any contract and no money was exchanged.”The twins had been born  prematurely and spent weeks at the hospital. It was during that time a suit was filed challenging the mother-child relationship. Since Close is not linked to the children genetically, it alleged they were not hers. All she has now are visitation rights for two hours a day, six days a week.

In matters of reproduction these days, caveat emptor.

Entire legal presumptions could be at stake:

If the judge rules in favor of McMurrey it could question the maternity of every child born using a donor egg.

I am not taking sides on the facts here, because obviously, I don’t know. But at the very least this case shows that a surrogate mother can tightly bond with the baby she gestates, even if not biologically related. There is real potential harm to these women–too often dehumanized as “gestational carriers–as if all they are is mere walking, talking uteruses. 

And notice that the mother was beyond normal child-bearing age.  Should that matter regarding suitability to be a surrogate?  I think it should.

The industry begs for restriction, restraint, and regulation. Having biologically related children and cultural change are not the be all and end all.  Plus, there are children out there begging to be adopted.

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