San Jose Family Law Attorney Discusses California Surrogacy and Adoption Laws
Lately, Sagaria Law has received several calls about surrogacy and adoption. Surrogacy comes in two main forms: gestational or traditional. Gestational surrogacy is where the embryo and resulting child is genetically related to both parents. Traditional surrogacy involves the use of donor eggs and sperm, or artificial insemination.
Surrogacy law in California is governed by 2 Supreme Court cases: Johnson v. Calvert and Marriage of Buzzanca. Johnson is a case of a gestational surrogate (genetic material from both parents, surrogate to carry the child), and the Supreme Court ruled that when two women have valid claims to motherhood, the tiebreaker is the intent at the time of conception. Therefore, the natural mother of a child is the person who intended to bring about the birth of a child and raise it as her own. In Marriage of Buzzanca, the Court dealt with a case of two infertile parties who used donor sperm and donor eggs to implant in a paid surrogate. In that case, the court held that where a married couple, unable to procreate on their own, intends to bring about the birth of a child through the use of medical technology, those individuals will be held to be the legal parents, regardless of genetics. This holding should apply to surrogacy cases where the surrogate has been artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm, but since there is no clear ruling on this particular issue, it is possible the court would decide differently under that set of circumstances.