The Short of It
A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled this week to uphold the surrogacy contract that Sherri Shepherd signed before she divorced her husband. The ruling holds her legally responsible for the baby born to the surrogate, which means she must continue paying child support.
Following their 2011 wedding, the former "The View" co-host and husband Lamar Sally pursued surrogacy using Sally's sperm and a donor egg. The couple split a few months into the pregnancy, and since the birth of son LJ last year, Sherri Shepherd has been challenging the surrogacy contract and fighting to prevent having her name on the birth certificate.
But Monday's ruling by a Pennsylvania court of appeals upholds a lower court's April decision that Shepherd is, in fact, the legal mother of the baby. The ruling is considered by some to be "a victory for all families formed through assisted reproductive arrangements."
"This will allow parents and carriers to feel secure. A great decision for the surrogacy community," Melissa Brisman told People magazine. She is the owner of the New Jersey-based Reproductive Possibilities and arranged Shepherd's surrogacy.
Shepherd must continue paying $4,100 a month in child support, according to a lawyer for Sally, a substitute teacher who is raising LJ in Los Angeles.
"She doesn't want to be part of his life. It's all good," Sally told The Associated Press. "I'm going to be parent enough for the both of us."
With more and more women—and men—turning to surrogacy to become parents, the decision to make Shepherd the legal mother comes as a relief to the surrogacy community.
"Surrogates don't want to feel that someone could want a baby and then just back out," said Brisman. "The surrogate is not the mother."