Parentage and the Importance of Contracts for Surrogates

In a recent surrogacy case that is sweeping the news, a California woman discovered that she became pregnant with her own biological child while she was carrying another baby as a surrogate for a Chinese couple. This is caused by a rare medical phenomenon known as superfetation. This occurs when a mother continues to ovulate after pregnancy, resulting in two different, but very closely occurring conceptions. As a result, the woman, who was pregnant with what she thought were twins, was actually carrying two fetuses from two sets of different parents.

It was not until months later that the mother received the news that the second baby was not actually a twin to the implanted embryo, but her and her husband’s biological son, which was confirmed by a DNA test. However, it still took several more complicated months for them to receive custody of their son, as his parentage was originally given to the Chinese couple that the woman was a surrogate for, who placed him for adoption in an orphanage after realizing who his biological parents were.

In particular, this case emphasizes the importance of making sure legal contracts regarding surrogacy – whether you are the surrogate or are going to use a surrogate – are airtight. These contracts not only need to account for the expected, but also the unexpected.