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LEGAL DECISIONS INVOLVING SURROGATE PARENTHOOD

Most of the legal disputes involving reproductive technologies have centered on the disputes over traditional parental rights to the resulting child or fertilized ova. Some cases, usually denominated as baby selling, are criminal prosecutions for failing to comply with the applicable adoptions laws. The most highly publicized cases have been custody disputes such as the Baby M case in New Jersey and the Davis divorce case in Tennessee. The Davis case, while involving more sophisticated technology, had a simpler legal solution. The only technology involved in the Baby M case was artificial insemination, but it had a much more complex legal result. In a thoughtful and articulate opinion, the New Jersey court discussed the legal problems posed by so-called surrogacy agreements and, implicitly, the general policy considerations in heterogeneous parentage situations. The following discussion includes quotation from the legal opinions themselves to convey the attitude of the courts as well as the legal rules in the cases. The holdings of these cases are limited to their respective states, but the attitude of the courts are representative of courts in other jurisdictions.



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