Social History of American Families: An Encyclopedia, pp. 97-98, Lawrence Ganong, ed., 2014
2 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2013 Last revised: 2 Feb 2016
Date Written: July 23, 2013
This encyclopedic entry considers the law and public policy regarding commercial surrogacy, focusing on the famous Baby M case. The Supreme Court of New Jersey decided this case in 1978, becoming the first American court to consider the validity of a surrogacy contract, ultimately ruling that the contract was unenforceable. The court thereby upheld a woman’s right to change her decision after she agreed, under a surrogacy contract, to be artificially inseminated with a man’s sperm and to surrender the baby to him and his wife. As the case illustrated, there are complicated considerations involved in determining whether a woman should be able to serve as a commercial surrogate. The ultimate public policy decision for American state courts and legislatures on this issue is whether to declare surrogacy contracts enforceable, void and unenforceable, or enforceable only if noncommercial.
Keywords: family law, domestic relations, Baby M, surrogacy, commercial surrogacy, surrogacy contract, child's best interests, baby selling
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation