The Indiana Court decided a very interesting point on surrogacy which is quite on debate all over the world. The question is who should be considered to be the legal parents of the child born through surrogacy.
A 11 month old baby referred to as ‘Infant R’ in Court Documents was conceived by In-Vitro Fertilization using a legally wedded couple’s gametes. The child was carried by the wife’s sister. On birth of the child, the name of the mother was left vacant and only the name of the father was filled. The Couple applied to the Indiana Court for a declaration that the wife should be declared to be legal mother of the child and that her name should occupy the mother status in the birth certificate. The surrogate mother too filed an affidavit in support of their petition. But the judge refused, ruling that “Indiana law does not permit a non-birth mother to establish maternity. Indiana law holds the birth mother is the legal maternal mother.” Attorney Steven Litz applied the Court of Appeals to intervene, challenging the constitutionality of Indiana’s paternity law because it allows men — but not women — to establish legal parenthood. Such similar stand was taken in Arizona and Maryland Court where the similar paternity laws in surrogacy situations were inadequate to deal with reproductive technology. The Judges clearly did not want to delve into constitutionality aspects and were looking for a simpler solution for the whole problem. The matter is still pending.
The same question is arising in every country where surrogacy is permitted. Who is the legal mother of the child? The similar facts of the Jan Balaz Case was purpose of Nationality/Citizen. So is similar the British Nationals case which was handled by me. The solution for this legal problem can be arrived only with a comprehensive legislation dealing with the intricate issues of surrogacy. The much larger issue of international surrogacy calls for a international treaty concerning surrogacy.