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Surrogacy Law: Conn. Gives Non-Genetic Parents Legal Rights

ABC News,  Jan 20, 2011
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During a two-year legal battle, Anthony and Shawn Raftopol, Americans who live in Holland, worried that only one of the men was the legal parent of their young twin boys.

The gay couple married legally in Massachusetts in 2008. Their twins, Sebastiann and Lukas, now 2, were born in Connecticut through in-vitro fertilization with a donor egg and a surrogate mother.

Anthony Raftopol was the biological father and, under family law, had full parental rights. But when the couple tried to obtain a birth certificate, also naming Shawn, they were told he had no legal claim to the children.

"I work in another country and am on the road a lot," contractor Anthony Raftopol, 41, said. "Shawn travels with the children and it looked like he was literally trafficking children across the border.

"He travels with whole file documents just to show them he is not stealing the children from me."

Among the concerns was that Shawn Raftopol could not make medical decisions in the event of an emergency and the children needed to be hospitalized. "It was a little scary for us," he said.

But the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled this week that Shawn Raftopol, 40, has parenting rights, even thought he is not the biological father, because the couple had a valid surrogacy agreement.

The court rejected the state's argument that the co-parent would have to go through a second-parent adoption proceeding in order to be listed on the birth certificates.

The decision will have far-reaching ramifications for other couples -- gay and straight -- who choose to have their children through surrogacy.

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