Genetic parents who paid a surrogate mother to bear their child should raise the boy despite the surrogate's claim that she wants the child after all, a judge ruled Monday.
Mark Calvert gently kissed his wife, Crispina, as Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard Parslow rejected 29-year-old surrogate mother Anna Johnson's claim seeking partial custody of the baby boy."I believe he should be raised exclusively by the Calverts," Parslow said. The baby, whom the Calverts call Christopher, is now 4 weeks old.
The judge said that a "three-parent, two-natural-mom situation" would be confusing to the child and "invites emotional and financial extortion."
The Calverts, of Tustin, had agreed to pay Johnson $10,000 to bear their child, which was conceived through in vitro fertilization using sperm and egg donated by the Calverts. Mrs. Calvert can't carry a baby because she had a hysterectomy.
Both sides have said the decision would likely be appealed.
The Calverts had insisted that they should be recognized as the sole parents. Parslow earlier granted the Calverts temporary custody of the baby. Attorneys have said the Calvert-Johnson dispute could break new legal ground because a genetically unrelated surrogate never has sought custody.
The famous Baby M case in New Jersey involved a surrogate mother who was also the baby's genetic mother.
In the six-day hearing, Ms. Johnson's attorneys tried to show she and the baby had developed an unexpected but deep emotional attachment during the pregnancy that must not be severed.
Johnson claimed that the Calverts neglected her during the pregnancy and were late making payments.