Maine court rules on important surrogacy case

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders are trumpeting a decision made today by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which states that courts "have the authority under current law to determine who a child’s parents are when the child is conceived through procedures like in vitro fertilization and then carried and delivered by another person."

The case, which involved a married couple from Massachusetts and a married couple from Maine, dealth with the question whose name should be on the birth certificate in a surrogate-carrier situation. In this particular case, all of the parents involved agreed that the Nolans (of Massachusetts) were the sole parents of the case, but Mrs. La Bree (of Maine) remained listed as the "mother" on the child's birth certificate (she carried an embryo that was created by the joining of the Nolans' egg and sperm). A district court judge had previously found that it did not have the power to determine maternity; the Maine Supreme Judicial Court clarified that the courts do in fact have this authority. The Nolans will be able to get a new birth certificate with themselves listed as sole parents of their son. 

While this case did not involve a gay or lesbian couple, it is highly relevant for same-sex families. 

“This ruling provides certainty to parents and children by clarifying who is and who is not a parent when couples use reproductive technologies,” GLAD Attorney Mary L. Bonauto, who filed an amici brief in the case on behalf of medical doctors, infertility organizations, and attorneys who specialize in reproductive technologies, said in a press release. “Many people – including same-sex couples – use medical assistance to bring children into their families, and the law needs to keep pace with the science in order to ensure that families and children are acknowledged and protected."

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