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State Supreme Court: surrogate mother agreements are valid contracts

MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The Wisconsin Supreme Court says the Legislature should pass some type of law that deals with surrogate mother agreements. In the meantime, the court issued a ground-breaking decision yesterday that upholds such agreements. On a unanimous vote, the justices said it’s a valid contract when a woman agrees to give birth for another couple who cannot conceive – except when it’s not in the child’s best interest.

The case involved David and Marcia Rosecky of Menomonee Falls. Marcia could not conceive, so the couple agreed to have life-long friend Monica Schissel of Columbus carry the baby with Rosecky’s sperm that was artificially inseminated. A written contract called for Schissel to give up the baby and her parental rights to the Roseckys when the child was born. She changed her mind, and David Rosecky sued for breach-of-contract. At a trial in 2011, a Columbia County judge gave Rosecky sole custody but said Schissel could have the child every other weekend at varying times. The Roseckys appealed.

The Supreme Court said the Roseckys have custody and primary placement rights, but Schissel did not lose her birth rights. The case now goes back to the circuit court to review the visitation issue.

Appleton attorney Richard Schoenbohm praised the Supreme Court’s ruling. He represents two national groups for parents’ rights in surrogate agreements, and says the ruling removes uncertainty in the law.