Court Rules That Generally People Who Agree to In Vitro Fertilization are the Parents of the Child even if they are not Biologically Related

Several months ago, Sofia Vergara made headlines based on a dispute she had with her ex-fiancee, Nick Loeb. This dispute concerned two frozen embryos they had created when together. After they separated, Ms. Vergara wished to have the embryos destroyed while Mr. Loeb was hoping to bring them to term as children. This dispute is currently pending in court in California.

In Maryland, the Court of Special Appeals recently decided a case with similar issues to the Vegara case. The name of this case was Sieglein v Schmidt. In that case, the father and mother decided to enroll in an in vitro fertilization plan and brought a child to birth via donated eggs and donated sperm. However, shortly thereafter, the parties separated, and the father claimed that he was not the father of that child, in order to relieve himself of any child support or other obligations. The father was claiming that he in effect had no relationship to the child. It was not his genetic child, and he should therefore have no obligation.

The legislature had already determined that a child conceived by artificial insemination of a married woman with the consent of her husband is the legitimate child of both of them for all purposes. The question in this case then was whether is was any different if neither party was the genetic parent of the child. The Court disagreed with the father.  If a mother and father, during their marriage, willingly and voluntarily agree to conceive a child through in vitro fertilization, and that action resulted in the birth of a child, these two people are the legal parents of the minor child. This would not allow either parent to avoid their responsibility to support this child.

For more information, contact Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles at 443-589-0150 or contact us online.

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