'The Case of Baby M'

You agonized in your editorial (Jan. 25), "The Case of Baby M," over the "seemingly unresolvable . . . equally competing claims," but nevertheless managed, in your infinite wisdom, to decide in favor of the surrogate mother. Your only justification seems to be "the special affinity between mother and child" that "society recognizes."

You fill me with outrage that only unprintable words can express. In all your troubling over whether it is "proper for women to rent out their wombs," and "what of the baby itself?" never once do you consider the fact that the baby is, by nature, as much a child of its father as its mother. Even in the absence of any contract, a just society would place as much weight on the right of the father to his child(ren) as that of the mother. And are you equally troubled by the sale of semen from sperm banks as by the renting of wombs?

Once it is acknowledged that the natural father is equally entitled with the natural mother to their children, then the problem of surrogate motherhood becomes less perplexing. If the balance is equal to begin with, and then you take into account that the natural mother relinquished her rights to her child in a contract and was paid a substantial sum for the inconvenience of bearing their child, it seems clear the decision must tip in favor of the father.

Don't bleed so much over that mother, or the crassness of contracts settling custody of children. It happens all the time in divorce settlements. Even a prenuptial agreement can specify in advance the custody of future children in the event of divorce. It's a minuscule leap from that to the surrogate mother contract. The only distinction is that the latter omits the marriage.

KEVIN R. DAVIS

Beverly Hills

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