UPDATES & ANALYSIS

9.20

U.S. Supreme Court to consider an appeal from an Iowa surrogate mother seeking custody of the child

by Rox Laird | September 20, 2018

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to consider whether to accept the appeal of an Iowa Supreme Court ruling on the enforceability of a contract signed by a woman who acted as a surrogate mother for an Iowa couple unable to conceive a child of their own.

The surrogate mother, identified as T.B. in court documents, was impregnated with embryos fertilized with the intended biological father’s sperm and ova from an anonymous donor. She changed her mind after the child was born, and sued the Cedar Rapids couple in Linn County District Court, arguing that the surrogacy contract was unconstitutional and that her parental rights should not have been terminated.

The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Feb. 16 that the contract was valid, that the surrogate mother and her husband are not the child’s genetic parents and that the District Court correctly awarded custody of the child to the biological father.

The surrogate mother appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a brief filed with the Court, lawyers for T.B. argue that surrogate mother’s interest in the child, and her right to be free of state-enforced exploitation, are protected by the 14th Amendment, and that she did not waive those rights by signing the surrogacy contract.

At Monday’s conference, the U.S. Supreme Court has a long list of appeals to consider adding to its docket for the term that begins Oct. 1. The Court is expected to announce later next week which of those cases it will hear this term.

 

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