In my role as the host of PBA Family Law Section’s podcast “Law in the Family,” I spoke with Helen Casale about the recent Superior Court case, Glover v. Junior which was decided as a non-precedential decision in February.

This case involves the question as to whether parentage of a child can be established by contract. The facts of this case are unique insofar as Glover and Junior, a same-sex couple who were legally married in 2021 and pursued a family through IVF using Glover’s eggs and a sperm donor. Subsequent to the ensuing pregnancy, however, they broke-up; began divorce proceedings, with Glover articulating an intent not to proceed with Junior’s adoption of the child; and forcing Junior to seek a pre-birth order establishing her parentage.

In their efforts to start a family, Glover and Junior executed various agreements with a fertility clinic, sperm bank, and executed affidavits affirming their intent to have Junior adopt the child. Junior filed to establish a pre-birth order for parentage and the Philadelphia trial court sided with her, finding she is the legal parent pursuant to the law of contracts and that the parties formed a binding agreement for Junior, as the non-biological parent, to assume the status of legal parent through the use of assistive reproductive technology.

The Superior Court, however, disagrees and finds that there was no enforceable contract in place that conferred parental rights on Junior. Despite the variety of contracts executed by the parties, none identified Junior as the legal parent to the child. The decision allows for an interesting examination of contract by parentage and the relative uncertainty surrounding the procedures for establishing parentage in a state where there are no substantive ART laws on the books relative to custody, parentage, or obligations/rights by the “intended parent.”

Helen and I engage in a lively discussion about the case, some of the background on ART cases in Pennsylvania, and what we could expect from this case (or others) as it becomes a bell weather case on ART issues.