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Defining Parenthood

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Chapter Summary

A child can have five different parents: the genetic father, who provides the sperm; the genetic mother, who provides the egg; a surrogate who is not genetically related to the child she carries and bears; and the intended rearing parents who have no biological connection to the child. In a very recent case, the San Francisco Court of Appeals ruled that the genetic mother of twins born to her lesbian partner has no parental rights because she signed a waiver of parental rights at the time of donating her eggs. Perry-Rogers v. Fasano was a case in which medical error led to implanting the wrong embryos into a woman, causing an "accidental surrogacy". The cases known as 'unwed father cases' provide a vehicle for understanding the different components of parenthood. The 'best interests of the child' standard is an improvement over the out-dated patriarchal, possessive model of children as property.

Keywords: genetic father; genetic mother; parenthood; surrogacy; unwed father cases



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