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K.M. v. E.G.

California Supreme Court
117 P.3d 673 (2005)


Facts

K.M. (plaintiff) and E.G. (defendant), two women, began a relationship in June 1993 and moved in together in March 1994. They registered as domestic partners. E.G. was interested in raising a child, even prior to her relationship with K.M. In November 1993, E.G. applied to adopt. She later attempted in vitro fertilization unsuccessfully. A fertility specialist at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF) suggested that E.G. use K.M.’s ova to become pregnant. The women agreed to do so on the condition that they not tell anyone that K.M. was the donor. E.G. gave birth to twins in 1995. The parties disputed whether K.M. was intended to be treated as the children’s parent: E.G. said she would have declined K.M.’s eggs unless K.M. agreed to be simply a donor and not the children’s mother. K.M. said she would not have donated her eggs had she not understood that the women would co-parent. At the time of the donation, K.M. signed a UCSF form waiving any parental rights, but she later indicated that the form did not reflect her expectations. When the twins were born, E.G. was identified as their mother on the birth certificate. No father was named. E.G. and K.M. married soon after the birth, but K.M. did not adopt the twins. Nor did she cover them under her health insurance or designate them as beneficiaries under a life-insurance policy. The couple represented themselves as co-parents, however, to their families and the twins’ school. The children’s nanny stated that both women were the twins’ mothers. K.M. and E.G. ended their relationship in 2001. K.M. filed suit seeking custody and visitation rights. The trial court and Court of Appeal both ruled in favor of E.G. K.M. appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Moreno, J.)

Dissent (Werdegar, J.)

Dissent (Kennard, J.)

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