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Surrogacy arrangements, in which a set of intended parents contract with a woman to gestate a child for them in exchange for money, have many potential complications. Studies of surrogacy suggest that the vast, vast majority of surrogacy contracts are actually carried out without a hitch. But when things go wrong, they can go drastically wrong, leaving courts and the parties to the agreement to sort out a situation that was never intended to occur.

An ongoing litigation in New Jersey, A.G.R. v. D.R.H., presents just such a case. There, a gay male couple, S.H. and D.R.H., decided to pursue surrogacy as a means of having a child. D.R.H.’s sister, A.G.R., agreed to serve as a gestational carrier for the couple. (It is not clear, despite the formal contracts governing the parties’ arrangement, whether A.G.R. was compensated for her gestational service.) The egg was provided by a donor; the sperm was provided by S.H.; and the pregnancy was achieved through in vitro fertilization. Twin girls were born on October 4, 2006.