California is a fantastic place to experience surrogacy. Women can become a parent by going to a sperm bank and undergoing artificial insemination. Men use a surrogate, either through artificial insemination or through two women, one to donate an egg, and the other to serve as surrogate.
Traditionally, a man would either remain a co-parent with the surrogate, or attempt to terminate the surrogate’s maternity through a cumbersome and unpredictable abandonment proceeding. Now when the surrogate does not claim she is the mother, the court will follow the intentions of the parties, by declaring that the man is the sole parent and the surrogate is not the mother.
Prospective fathers have a stronger legal position by using a gestational surrogate. (ie. a surrogate who carries an embryo created from donor egg.) In this scenario, the man would be able to argue that he is the recipient of a donated egg. In absence of an egg donation from a separate woman, if the surrogate changes her mind and claims she is the mother of the child, he would have a harder time arguing that a “tie” exists between anyone.
Similar to the heterosexual married couple, same-sex couples in California will be listed on the original birth certificate of a child born to a surrogate if a judgment is obtained declaring both of them to be the sole parents.