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Should a surrogate mother have custody rights?

Earlier this year, a woman gave birth to a set of twins. Soon after the boy and girl were born, however, she was told that she had no custody rights to them. Now, she is only allowed to visit the twins for a short time each day, and she has filed a family court motion seeking more.

According to the woman's child custody motion, the babies were conceived after she and their father made an arrangement under which they would raise and parent the children together, despite the fact that she and the father were never romantically involved and had no plans to enter into a relationship. The woman carried and gave birth to them twins, but because they were conceived using donor eggs, she is not their biological mother.

The woman argues that it shouldn't matter whether she is genetically related to the twins because she carried and gave birth to them with the belief and intent that she would fill the role of their mother after they were born. "I gave birth to them, I loved them when they were inside my body," she said. "I planned to raise them."

The father, however, argues that he never agreed to let the woman have any meaningful contact with the children after their birth. He claims that the woman's lack of a genetic relationship to the twins is sufficient to deny her custody and visitation rights to them.

Although this case is not being decided in Las Vegas, it is likely to influence future family court decisions in Nevada as the field of assisted reproductive technology continues to change and grow around the country.

Source: ABC, "Man, woman face off for parental rights of twins," Miya Shay, Sept. 24, 2012

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