A newborn boy lies in the nursery at St. Joseph Hospital without a name or legal guardian, the victim of a custody battle between his genetic parents and the surrogate mother who carried the child for nine months.
Mark and Crispina Calvert, genetic parents of the 6-pound, 10-ounce boy, want to name him Christopher Michael. The surrogate, Anna Johnson, 29, prefers Matthew.At a Friday hearing, an Orange County Superior Court judge is expected to rule on interim custody arrangements for the infant until the case can be tried. Johnson and the boy are scheduled to be released from the hospital Saturday.
The case is likely to pave new legal ground into the emotional area of motherhood, surrogacy and parentage. At issue is whether a woman who bears a child conceived by another couple can claim any parental rights.
The child was born Wednesday.
"He's gorgeous. He's our miracle baby," said Crispina Calvert, 36, whose egg, fertilized by her husband's sperm, was implanted in Johnson. "He looks like me, with my husband's nose."
The Calverts, who spent 30 minutes alone with the baby after its birth, said they would rather see the child raised in a foster home than given permanently to the woman they paid $10,000 to carry the child they conceived.
Johnson said she is willing to share custody with the Calverts if there is a ruling that she is the legal mother, her attorney Richard Gilber said. Johnson also has agreed to drop her legal claim that the Calverts breached their contract.
"Anna is continuing to celebrate the birth of her new baby and . . . extends her warmest congratulations to Mark and Cris Calvert on the birth of this baby that is the product of the three of them," Gilbert told a news conference.
While the Calverts are "willing to listen" to Johnson's arguments to share parentage of the boy, they rule out sharing visitation rights with Johnson.
"We are not willing to enter into any type of arrangement, but we are willing to consider her position," said Robert Walmsley, the Calverts' attorney. "We are not insensitive to her emotions, but they will not agree to any shared custody."