Surrogate Madness: Five Would-Be-Parents Vying for Custody of Child

By Terry Vanderheyden

LAS VEGAS, July 31, 2006 ( – An unfortunate toddler is the object of a legal battle with five adults vying for his custody: the homosexual father who paid a surrogate mother $23,000 to impregnate herself with his sperm, the homosexual’s sister, the biologicalÂmother, and the boy’s current foster parents.

Baby X, as identified by court documents, is currently in the care of foster parents who want legal custody of the child, after the surrogate mother, Rachel Sullivan, found it too taxing to care for him, reported the Globe and Mail on July 21 in a lengthy articleÂdetailing the case.

Sullivan was granted custody after the biological father, Canadian Arthuro Nuosci, was arrested for identity theft, mail and bank fraud. He is now serving time in a California prison, but wants his sister in Canada to care for the child until his pending release next year. The toddler turned two this month.

Sullivan is appealing an earlier decision that allowed a married Salt Lake City couple to have physical custody of the child. Despite the adoptive parents’Âdesire to do so, the couple was not allowed to adopt after Judge Bruce Lubeck of Third District Court in Salt Lake City decided there was no basis in law for denying either of the child’s natural parents parental rights.

According to the Globe and Mail, Sullivan says that the surrogacy arrangement was a “setup for heartbreak.”“I want him to know that I was fighting for him, that I made a mistake and I’m doing my best to fix it,” she said in a telephone interview with the Globe. “I want him to know that he was not abandoned.”

Nuosci, the biological, imprisoned father, meanwhile, has given his sister Dolores Rizzi, who lives north of Toronto, power of attorney, authorizing her to make decisions about the boy in Nuosci’s absence. “Not only is he my nephew, he’s my godson,” Rizzi told the Globe and Mail by phone from Woodbridge. “He’s been baptized Catholic.” Rizzi, who is divorced, says she is ready to accept responsibility for the child, who would live with her and her two children.

The Utah Court of Appeal decided not to hear the case this month, deciding rather that it merited deliberation by the state Supreme Court, who will hear the suit September 5. “The Supreme Court will issue a decision and it will be the final say,” said Sullivan’s lawyer, David Wilde. “I think they thought this was a unique case with some important legal issues.”

Wilde summed up the unique complexities of the case, saying “we’re kind of in this brave new world of surrogate parents. Up until a few years ago, you just never had them. This is one of the twists that come into the law.”

When she considered the surrogacy, Sullivan said that at first it seemed like a good idea. “I view it so differently now,” she admitted. ” . . . If it was not my biological child, I would step back and take care of my kids. I’m very concerned about who is going to look after him. I don’t ever want him to think that I didn’t care.”

See Globe and Mail coverage (subscription):
  See related story:

Couple Refuses To Recognize Surrogate As Mother

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