CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. A man and woman entered into a surrogacy contract, but the woman did not want to give the baby up after she gave birth.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Surrogacy contracts are invalid.
The court must find (1) that the child's health and development has been or will be seriously impaired by the parenting relationship; (2) the parents are unable or unwilling to eliminate the harm and delay in permanent placement will add to the harm; (3) alternatives to terminating parental rights have been thoroughly explored and exhausted, including efforts to help the parents cure the problems that led to the placement; and (4) that termination of parental rights will not do more harm than good.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Can a surrogacy contract be valid?
The law prohibits giving or accepting money in an adoption. Baby selling exploits all the parties involved. It does not regard the interest of the child or the natural mother.
Parental rights can only be terminated when there has been a voluntary surrender of a child to an agency or when there has been a showing of parental abandonment or unfitness. A contractual agreement to abandon one’s parental rights will not be enforced by the court.
No surrender of custody of a child can be valid unless the surrender is made to a state agency and meets certain formalities.
The contract’s basic premise, that the natural parents can decide in advance of birth, which one is to have custody of the child, bears no relationship to the settled law that the child’s best interest shall determine custody.
There are, in a civilized society, some things that money cannot buy. It is against public policy of the state to buy and sell babies.
Discussion. Surrogacy contracts are void as against public policy. The court emphasized that the best interests of the child should settle custody disputes, not contracts.