sherri sheperd case

The Sherri Shepherd Case and the Importance of a Surrogacy Contract

As you may have seen in the news recently, former View Co-Host Sherri Shepherd was recently legally declared to be the mother of the child she and her ex-husband conceived with the assistance of a gestational surrogate. This is one of the times where we are able to see that, when things are done correctly, and with competent surrogacy attorneys, the terms of the surrogacy agreement were upheld, despite the fact that one of the parties tried to escape her legal obligations. When Sherri and her husband, Lamar Sally, entered into their gestational surrogacy contract, it was everyone’s intention that Sherri and Lamar be the legal parents of the child they were conceiving with the assistance of a gestational surrogate. This child would not have been created but for the steps that Sherri and Lamar took in order to conceive a child. Fortunately for Lamar and the surrogate, everyone was represented by legal counsel experienced in surrogacy matters.

When Sherri and Lamar decided to divorce, Sherri decided that she did not want to parent a child with Lamar and tried to end her legal responsibility under the surrogacy contract while their surrogate was already pregnant with their child. Despite her refusal to assume parental responsibility, the court ruled that Sherri was a parent. It did not matter that they used donor egg to create the embryo. It did not matter that they used a surrogate to gestate their child. What mattered were the intentions of the parties, as memorialized in their negotiated surrogacy contract.

The laws surrounding gestational surrogacy can vary greatly from state to state. That is why it is important to involve competent legal counsel; attorneys who are specifically experienced in surrogacy matters. The attorneys who represented Sherri’s ex-husband and the baby in the parentage action were members of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA). Jim Thompson is proud to be the only attorney in the State of South Carolina who has been invited to join AAARTA, where he is an active member and serves on the Ethics Code Review Committee.

If you are considering using a gestational surrogate to build your family, please contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Jim Thompson.