Friend's sperm, anonymous donor's egg: Full-fledged mother or surrogate?
For women who face the difficulty of infertility, assisted-reproductive technology has helped many conceive. That's exactly what appears to have happened with Cindy Close, who birthed twins using her friend's sperm and an anonymous donor's egg, as Craig Malisow writes for the Houston Press. But the deal fell through and Close was served with a child custody suit that claimed Close was nothing more than a surrogate with no legal right to her twins.
Close was planning on co-parenting her children with her friend, Marvin McMurrey III, the one who had provided the sperm, and who she briefly dated. Despite the fact that they were no longer dating and were just friends, Close and McMurrey agreed to embark on their co-parenting adventure.
Meanwhile, McMurrey shacked up with a girlfriend in another state. After the twins were born, McMurrey served Close with the lawsuit and was awarded temporary custody, based on the claim that Close is not genetically related to the twins.
Because Close is not genetically related to the twins, and was only the "birthing mother," it's possible that child custody could be awarded to McMurrey, the biological father. However, the existence of the co-parenting agreement, and its substance, could be enough to work in Close's favor.