Genetic mother excluded from child’s life
Jordan and Cory in happier days
Dispatches from the Reproductive Revolution 1. An Oregon multi-millionaire and philanthropist has won a four-year court battle to declare that the biological mother of his child should have nothing to do with their son.
Jordan Schnitzer, now 70, made an agreement with his then-girlfriend, Cory Sause, now 42, that they would create IVF embryos so that he could become the sole father of a boy. He already had two daughters.
A surrogate mother brought one of them to term and gave birth to Samuel, who is now 5.
The relationship soured and when Ms Sause wanted to have visiting rights an exercise a maternal influence, Mr Schnitzer refused. She sued and won the first court case. Mr Schnitzer appealed and won. She plans to appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court.
At the moment, Mr Schnitzer is the Samuel’s sole parent. Ms Sause has no right to have any contact with the boy. “I can’t even describe not hearing him calling me Mommy or not knowing when I’m going to see him again,” Ms Sause told Oregon Live. “My heart breaks for him.”
Mr Schnitzer’s attorney, Laurel Hook, was delighted with the decision. “'Not only does this ruling protect Mr. Schnitzer and his son but it removes any doubt for the thousands of individuals and couples who have used Assisted Reproductive Technology to fulfill their dreams of having a child,” she said. “The 46-page ruling states that Cory Sause was never a mother. This is in accordance with current Oregon law that egg donors and sperm donors are not mothers and fathers.”
In fact, the law in Oregon yields quite a bizarre result. Sperm and egg donors are not parents, according to a statute, SB 512; only the gestational mother is the parent. In this case, the legal parents were Cassandra and Charles Gibeaut – Cassandra because she was the surrogate, and Charles because he was the surrogate’s husband. Neither Mr Schnitzer nor Ms Sause were legal parents. Mr Schnitzer’s custody of Samuel is the result of an agreement with Mrs Gibeaut. Ms Sause signed also signed an agreement in which she relinquished the right to be the mother of the boy.
The long and the short of this saga is that Samuel Schnitzer is five years old, his father is 70 years old, and he has no mother. Unless Mr Schnitzer is immortal as well as wealthy, he will soon be dead and Samuel will be an orphan.
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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