A legal battle over custody of triplets raises questions about parenthood, surrogacy and the fertility industry.; Credit: Tatiana Vdb (via Flickr Creative Commons)
That’s the question at the heart of a legal situation brewing in California that raises enormous and complex questions about parenthood, surrogacy and the fertility industry.
It’s a custody battle involving a 47-year-old California resident named Melissa Cook and a 50-year-old man living in Georgia.
The man, known as “C.M.” in court papers, is single and wanted to become a dad. So, through an agency, he enlisted the help of Cook to be a surrogate mother.
She became pregnant with implanted embryos created using C.M.’s sperm and eggs from another female donor.
Cook wound up with triplets, but C.M. didn’t feel ready to raise three newborn babies on his own and had concerns about the likelihood of birth defects.
When he asked Cook to terminate one of the fetuses, she refused and initially asked to raise one of the babies herself. C.M. said no.
Now Cook is challenging California’s surrogacy law and fighting for custody of the children, who are due in March.
Slate columnist Michelle Goldberg explains the details of the case and the thorny legal and ethical questions it raises.
To hear the full interview, click the link above.