SHARYN ROACH ANLEU
In the United States on February 6, 1985, Mary Beth Whitehead and William Stern entered into a contract in which she agreed to be inseminated with his sperm, become pregnant, and then, following the baby's birth, relinquish her maternal rights and give the child over to him. Mr. Whitehead was a party to the contract but Elizabeth Stern, William's wife, was not, presumably to avoid legal prohibitions on baby-selling. The contract provided that "Mary Beth Whitehead understands and agrees that in the best interests of the child, she will not form or attempt to form a parent-child relationship with any child or children she may conceive, carry to term and give birth to . . . and shall freely surrender custody to William Stern" (Supreme Court of New Jersey 1988: 1265). The contract refers to Mary Beth Whitehead as the "Surrogate" and William Stern as the "Natural Father." Stern paid $7,000 to the Infertility Center of New York, the brokers of this arrangement, and $10,000 to Mary Beth.
After the birth on March 27, 1986, Mary Beth realized that she could not part with the baby, who became known as Baby M. At first, she did relinquish the baby, but the following day she went to the Sterns and asked to have the baby for one week. After emotional scenes, the Sterns agreed. Mary Beth did not return Baby M but informed the Sterns that she had decided to keep the child. The father, Stern, responded by obtaining a court order directing the mother, Whitehead, to return the infant to him. Instead the Whiteheads, with the baby, left for Florida, where Mary Beth's parents lived. Almost three months later Stern located them through a