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In the Matter of Baby M

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Singer

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Citation. 109 N.J. 396, 537 A.2d 1227, 1988 N.J.77 A.L.R.4th 1.

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.

Facts. William Stern (Stern) and Mary Beth Whitehead (Whitehead) entered into a surrogacy contract. The contract stated that Whitehead would become pregnant through artificial insemination using Stern’s sperm, carry the child to term, bear it, deliver it to the Sterns, and do whatever was necessary to terminate her maternal rights so Mrs. Stern could adopt the baby. Stern agreed to pay Whitehead $10,000.00 after the child’s birth, on its delivery to him. Though she did not want to, Whitehead turned the baby over to the Sterns after its birth. The Sterns gave the baby back to her when she said she could not live without it, but they believed she would give the baby back to them. When it became apparent that she would not give the baby back, Stern filed a complaint seeking enforcement of the surrogacy contract.

Issue. Can a surrogacy contract be valid?
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