surrogate baby case takes another twist
By Liz Maples, The Advocate-Messenger, KY
October 27, 2005
court has been asked to decide who are the legal parents
of a baby a Casey County woman is carrying for another couple.
Bendschneider of Casey County is in Massachusetts and plans
to give birth to a boy at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis,
is the surrogate mother of the baby and is not biologically
related to him. The biological parents are Jackie Mitchard,
"Deep End of the Ocean" novelist, and her husband,
husband, Jack Bendschneider, has filed for divorce in Casey
County and refuses to sign a prebirth order that will terminate
his paternal rights to the child.
attorney, Ted Lavit, said Jack Bendschneider has no intentions
of signing a prebirth order or anything else that indicates
he is not the father of the baby, but also does not claim
to be related to the baby.
said, "He is just interested in his children ... caring
for and making a home for his children."
Bendschneider has sole temporary custody of his and his
wife's two young children. Casey Circuit Judge James G.
Weddle ruled that he cannot make Jack Bendschneider sign
a prebirth order. However, Jack Bendschneider has said in
court that he is not the father of the baby his wife is
carrying for the Massachusetts couple, and that he wants
"nothing more to do" with the surrogate pregnancy.
and Brent's attorney, Melissa Brisman, who practices in
Massachusetts, said while Jack Bendschneider's decision
makes "emotional sense," it does not make "legal
making it more difficult for himself and for everyone else,"
Brisman said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
is asking the court to prevent the hospital from issuing
a birth certificate until after it has determined who are
the legal parents. If the court determines Mitchard and
Brent are the legal parents, they will not have to adopt
their own child, according to Brisman.
2001 Brisman was successful in convincing the Massachusetts
Supreme Judicial Court to put the names of the biological
parents, not the surrogate mother, on a baby's birth certificate.
She was also successful doing the same thing in Maine for
her own surrogate baby.
case is unusual, Brisman said, because although Jack Bendschneider
is not contesting the action, he is not consenting to it
will not be assisting Arletta Bendschneider in her custody
battle. She said she is not familiar with Kentucky law,
but she said Weddle's custody decision would have been unusual
on the East Coast.
The Advocate-Messenger 2005