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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Ind. Decisions - Gestational carrier and declaration of maternity; Maine and Indiana

Recalling the Indiana COA decision Feb. 17, 2010 in Paternity of R.; T.G. and V.G. v. State of Indiana (ILB summary here, 5th case), the Maine Supreme Court has acted on the issue.

A story April 12, 2012 in the Bangor Daily News by Seth Koenig, headed "Does Maine court have the authority to declare motherhood," began:

PORTLAND, Maine — One woman provided the egg, another woman provided the womb. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is now being asked to consider which woman should be listed as the mother on the baby’s birth certificate.

The law court’s ruling on the subject could be groundbreaking. The decision has the potential to lay the groundwork for how courts would go about legally determining motherhood in future cases, as it’s now largely uncharted territory for Maine’s courts.

On Thursday, the state’s highest court heard oral arguments in a case in which Robert and Celia Nolan are appealing a Bangor District Court ruling that left the names of gestational carrier Kristen Labree and her husband, Jeff, on the birth certificate of a baby born in 2010.

The Thursday hearing was unusual in that only one lawyer presented his case before the court, as both parties are in agreement on the issue. Attorney Christopher Berry told the justices there’s no dispute over custody or parental rights and the Labrees agree that their names should be replaced on the birth certificate documentation by those of the Nolans.

The Labrees, he told the court, believe their role in the surrogacy agreement has been fulfilled.

The Nolans sought a declaration at the District Court level that they are the mother and father of the child, but while the lower court found that Robert Nolan had established paternity, it ruled that it lacked the authority to declare the maternity of Celia Nolan.

Today the Bangor Daily News has a story by Judy Harrison, headed "Maine court says judges can decide maternity — if all parties agree."

Here is the May 3, 2012 Maine Supreme Court opinion in Robert Nolan et al. v. Kristen Labree.

More on the Indiana case here and here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 9, 2012 01:18 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions