A California woman and her partner decided that she would become a surrogate. The couple already had two children, and the thought of helping another couple have a child was appealing to them. However, what first started as an act of kindness soon became a nightmare, and now a family is struggling to find the light at the end of the tunnel in a very strange custody battle.

Surrogacy and a Custody Battle

It was April 2016 when a California woman underwent in vitro fertilization treatment to impregnate her with another couple’s baby. The intended parents were Chinese and during the child’s gestation, they kept in close contact with their surrogate.

Through an agency in San Diego, the surrogate and the intended parents came to an agreement, which saw the surrogate being paid $30,000 to carry the child to term. Yet, just six weeks after the in vitro treatment the surrogate discovered that she was carrying two babies. The intended parents were thrilled and added $5,000 to the payment for their surrogate. But several months later, the entire business relationship would fall apart.

In December 2016, the California woman gave birth to the twins, and they were given to their intended parents. However, it soon became clear that one of the babies was not what the intended parents imagined. After contacting her surrogate and undergoing DNA testing all parties were shocked to learn that one of the two babies was actually the biological son of the surrogate and her partner.

After going back and forth with the intended parents, and the agency in San Diego it became clear that if she wanted her biological son back, getting legal help would be involved. After acquiring that legal help, the California woman was able to negotiate the return of her biological child, but only after certain demands were met. Namely, compensation of $22,000 and $7,000 for taking care of the child during the transfer of custody.

Now this couple is trying to figure out the next step in this process. Their child has no social security number nor a birth certificate with his name or biological parents listed. That means there is very little proof that the child is a citizen of the United States. The California woman and her partner are now exploring further legal remedies to set their family right.

Do you think they will succeed? Were there any legal options that could have prevented this incident? Did they have an attorney check the surrogacy contract before signing? When it comes to custody, whether it’s through surrogacy, paternity dispute or divorce, it is always a good idea to have legal counsel involved. The family law attorneys at Gates Law Group will continue to watch this case, and see how it changes the legal process when dealing with complicated family situations.

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