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Child custody fight after surrogate decides to keep baby

Maryland residents who are dealing with infertility often encounter a long and difficult road in the effort to expand their families. Many will go through difficult and expensive treatment options before looking to alternative measures, such as using the services of a surrogate. While many thousands of families have positive experiences with surrogacy each and every year, there are cases in which the arrangement leads to stress, heartbreak and difficult child custody battles.

An example is found in the story of a couple who carefully chose a young woman to act as their surrogate. After interviewing the woman and her husband, they decided that it was a good fit for the needs of all involved. The woman became pregnant using her own egg and the prospective father's sperm. After that point, however, she began acting in an unusual manner, and eventually cut off all communications with both prospective parents.

When the baby was born, the surrogate took the infant home. The couple then filed a child custody case, asking the court to enforce their surrogacy contract. However, because the surrogate is also the biological mother of the child, the court ruled that she has parental rights. This has left the couple with nothing more than visitation rights to the child they intended to bring home from the hospital and raise as their own. In addition, because the husband is also the biological father of the child, the couple also has to pay child support to the woman who already received $15,000 for surrogacy services.

As this child custody case demonstrates, surrogacy can be a complicated option. Maryland residents who are thinking about using the services of a surrogate should consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action. When the child is conceived using the genetic material of the surrogate, the issue can quickly become far more complicated than the parties expect.

Source: People, "Heartbroken Parents Left Paying Child Support After Surrogate Keeps Their Baby Girl: 'I Spend Every Day Thinking of Her,' Says Mom", Caitlin Keating, March 7, 2016

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