J.F. v. D.B.
Pennsylvania. Erie County. Court of Common Pleas
Pennsylvania District and County Reports, 4th Series, 2004; 66: 1-33
Court Decision: 66 Pennsylvania District and County Reports, 4th Series 1; 2004 Apr 2 (date of decision). The Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Pennsylvania held that a gestational surrogacy contract that failed to identify the legal mother of the children and allowed parties to bargain away the children's custody and support rights was void and against public policy. Plaintiff J.F. arranged to have his sperm fertilize a donor egg and to have the resulting fertilized egg implanted in defendant D.B., a gestational surrogate. After D.B. gave birth to slightly premature triplets, J.F. and his paramour showed only sporadic interest in the babies. Alarmed, D.B. took the triplets home and cared for them. J.F. sought sole custody of the triplets. The court granted temporary custody to D.B., but allowed J.F. and his paramour visitation rights. The court declared D.B. the legal mother of the children, even though she was not genetically related to the triplets, because she carried, bore, and took care of the children as a natural parent would. D.B.'s actions were more in line with the behavior of a natural parent than J.F.'s sporadic interest and haphazard visitation. D.B, as the legal mother, thereby had standing to pursue custody, and J.F., as the full biological father, had a legal duty to provide child support.
Date of Decision: 2 April 2004
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