Johnson v. Calvert

5 Cal. 4th 84, 19 Cal. Rptr. 2d 494, 851 P.2d 776 (1993)

 

RULE:

A genetic mother, may bring an action to determine the existence of a mother and child relationship. The natural mother and child relationship may be established by proof of her having given birth to the child. Where a surrogate was used, she can establish the relationship, but the adoptive mother may also establish the relationship. Further the relation of the adoptive father and child may be relevant.

FACTS:

Appellant surrogate entered into a contract with respondents, genetic parents, whereby she would gestate a zygote conceived of respondents genetic material. Respondents filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination that they were the natural parents of the child. The appellate court affirmed the trial court's holding that they were. On further appeal, the court affirmed. The Uniform Parentage Act, Cal Civ. Code §§ 7000-721 (repealed 1994), recognized both genetic consanguinity and giving birth as means of establishing a mother and child relationship, when the two means did not coincide in one woman, she who intended to procreate the child and raise as her own, was the natural mother. The court held that the surrogacy contract was not barred by public policy. The court held that the determination that respondents were the natural parents of the child did not deprive appellant of her constitutional rights as appellant was not exercising her own right to make procreative choices. Rather she agreed to provide a necessary and profoundly important service without any expectation that she would raise the child as her own.

ISSUE:

Is the declaration of respondents as the child's natural parents constitutional?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The Uniform Parentage Act, Cal Civ. Code §§ 7000-721 (repealed 1994), recognized both genetic consanguinity and giving birth as means of establishing a mother and child relationship, when the two means did not coincide in one woman, she who intended to procreate the child and raise as her own, was the natural mother. The court held that the surrogacy contract was not barred by public policy. The court held that the determination that respondents were the natural parents of the child did not deprive appellant of her constitutional rights as appellant was not exercising her own right to make procreative choices. Rather she agreed to provide a necessary and profoundly important service without any expectation that she would raise the child as her own.

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