January 8, 1987 |
The husband of Mary Beth Whitehead testified yesterday that his wife cried "hysterically," repeating, "Oh, God, what have I done?" after handing over the child she had borne for another couple. "She would wake up (that night) crying and screaming," said Richard Whitehead, speaking softly. "That's when I told her, 'Go and get our baby.' " Richard Whitehead, 37, described the emotional scene, which occurred on March 30, at the extraordinary trial unfolding in Superior Court here for custody of the girl known as Baby M. A sanitation worker from Bricktown, Ocean County, Richard Whitehead said he realized during the child's birth that he wanted to keep the baby his wife conceived as a surrogate mother.
March 3, 1987 |
Testifying at the Baby M trial yesterday, a psychiatrist hired by attorneys for William and Elizabeth Stern said that Mary Beth Whitehead has a "mix of personality difficulties" and that her husband, Richard, suffers from "intermittent alcoholism. " The psychiatrist, Dr. Allwyn J. Levine, recommended that the court award custody of the 11-month-old girl to the Sterns, of Tenafly, Bergen County, and also terminate Mary Beth Whitehead's legal rights as the child's mother. The latter step is necessary if Elizabeth Stern is to adopt the child.
January 11, 1987 |
When William Stern first called last April, seeking the return of Baby M, attorney Gary N. Skoloff said he told Stern not to worry. "This is going to be simple, clean and fast," Skoloff remembers telling his client, a biochemist from Tenafly, N.J. The bill for legal fees wouldn't amount to more than $1,000, he predicted. Stern, 40, and his wife Elizabeth, 41, had hired a Bricktown, N.J., homemaker to bear a child for them, agreeing to pay her $10,000. Mary Beth Whitehead, 29, the surrogate mother, bore the child - a girl - after being artificially inseminated with Stern's semen.
August 5, 1987 |
Blaming the pressures of the Baby M case, surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead and her husband have separated, which could make it more difficult for her to obtain custody of the girl she bore under a $10,000 contract. Whitehead's attorney announced the separation yesterday in a letter to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which is to hear oral arguments next month in Whitehead's appeal of a lower-court decision awarding the child once known as Baby M to William and Elizabeth Stern.
November 13, 1987 |
Mary Beth Whitehead was granted an uncontested divorce in New Brunswick, N. J., yesterday from her husband of almost 14 years, Richard Whitehead, as she insisted that they were still "very much" in love and would remain close friends. The surrogate mother sat shoulder-to-shoulder with her ex-husband in the Middlesex County courtroom, talking warmly and joking with reporters. She blamed the divorce on the pressures of dealing with the Baby M case, in which she lost custody of a baby she had agreed to carry for another couple.
February 10, 1987 |
Mary Beth Whitehead made a courtroom appeal to William and Elizabeth Stern yesterday, asking them to discontinue their custody fight over Baby M. "I love them both," Whitehead said from the witness stand. "I want to put my arms around both of them and tell them we made a mistake. Let's make the best of it. Let's not continue to hurt Sara. " Sara is the name given the baby by Whitehead and her family. The Sterns call the 10-month-old girl Melissa. After Whitehead's testimony, the Sterns told reporters that they had been moved by her emotional appeal, but that they remained undeterred in their fight for the child.
November 5, 1987 |
Surrogate mother Mary Beth Whitehead confirmed yesterday that she was pregnant and said she intended to marry the baby's father as soon as she could divorce her estranged husband. "When I first learned of my pregnancy, there was no question that I wanted and would have my baby," Whitehead, 30, said in a statement released by her attorney. "The baby's father, Dean Gould, and I have had an ongoing relationship for the past few months. "We intend to be married as soon as Rick and I are divorced.
March 2, 1988 |
Baby M's mother and her former husband have agreed to accept about $32,000 to drop their suit against the Manhattan agency that handled her surrogate- motherhood contract, it was disclosed yesterday. Manhattan Federal Judge Pierre Leval signed a settlement order Monday. "She's happy about the settlement," Joel Siegal, who represents Mary Beth Whitehead-Gould, said. "She feels that it will deter people from engaging in the surrogate process. " Whitehead-Gould and her former husband, Richard Whitehead, sued the Infertility Center of New York, its founder Noel Keane, two lawyers involved in the case and the physician who performed the artificial insemination.
February 26, 1987 |
Mary Beth Whitehead has told a psychiatrist retained by her attorneys that her husband goes on two-week drinking binges about every six months, according to the psychiatrist's report. The report of Dr. Donald F. Klein of New York, which was submitted to the judge hearing the Baby M case, states that Richard Whitehead, 37, "is essentially out of it, rather than aggressively dangerous" during these drinking periods. The Whiteheads, of Bricktown, Ocean County, are seeking custody of Baby M, the child Mary Beth Whitehead agreed to bear for another couple, William and Elizabeth Stern of Tenafly, Bergen County.
January 13, 1987 |
This is America, and a deal is a deal. Plain and simple. Unless there's something super-precious - more valuable than long green - up for barter. Something like a human being. You thought the practice of selling people went out with abolition of slavery and the 13th Amendment? Wrong. Now we've got surrogate motherhood, which masquerades as an altruistic, humane and reasonable alternative for infertile couples who want children. That's how it was supposed to be in the case of Baby M, who was born to Mary Beth Whitehead of Bricktown, N. J., March 27, under a surrogate mother contract agreement with William and Elizabeth Stern of Tenafly.