We’ve all been following the widely publicized story of Sharri Shepherd and ex-husband Lamar Sally in their court battle where Sharri Shepherd fought a surrogacy contract that was entered into agreement with the surrogate mother that carried her and Lamar Sally’s child; a long-awaited ruling has been made.
In an article from CBS News, it was reported that a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled this past week to uphold the surrogacy contract signed and agreed to by Sharri Shepherd and then husband Lamar Sally. Shepherd had fought to have the contract voided in the event of her divorce from Sally and give up any legal rights to the child.
In the course of their surrogacy journey as a married couple, Shepherd and Sally’s marriage began to falter and at that point Shepherd had a change of heart about the surrogacy arrangement. Unfortunately, at that point the gestational surrogate was in her second trimester.
A gestational surrogate is a woman who carries a baby that has been conceived using the egg of the intended mother, or an egg donor, and sperm from the intended father, or a sperm donor. A gestational surrogate mother has no genetic connection to the baby. In this case, the embryo created contained Lamar Sally’s sperm and a donor egg.
It is the role of the surrogacy agency to provide legal counsel and contractual agreements for the arrangement between the gestational surrogate and intended parents. These contracts include every facet of the specifics of the arrangement. That is why it is with great joy and relief those in the third party reproduction community are elated that this case between Sharri Shepherd and her ex-husband has instated a precedent for the surrogacy contract to be upheld and remain strong. At Fertility Source Companies it is our duty to protect our surrogates with contracts for the rare cases like this one. Surrogates provide a gift to intended parents of carrying a pregnancy that that couple/individual would not have been able to do on their own. Despite the unfortunate circumstances of Shepherd and Sally’s marriage ending in divorce, it doesn’t negate the fact that their surrogate mother delivered a healthy baby boy to them. With the ruling to uphold the surrogacy contract, Shepherd’s name must appear on the child’s birth certificate (not the surrogate’s name, which was done initially in this case, as the surrogate is not legally responsible for this child) and Shepherd must continue to pay child support to her ex-husband who is raising the child on his own.
From CBS News:
“(Shepherd) does not dispute that she freely entered into the gestational carrier contract,” the Superior Court ruling said. “Baby S. would not have been born but for (her) actions and express agreement to be the child’s legal mother.”