HOUSTON, Texas -- A Harris County judge has reached a decision in an unusual custody battle involving a surrogate and two Houston men. The judge has determined the woman who gave birth is, in fact, a mother.
Cindy Close, 48, gave birth to premature twins at Texas Children’s Hospital on July 27. Not long afterward, she was visited by a social worker.
“She told me we had a surrogacy situation,” Close said. “I looked at her and said ‘I’m not a surrogate, what are you talking about?’”
Close said she had been duped by Marvin McMurrey, a man who she said pretended to be a friend and promised to be a partner in raising their children.
Though he paid for Close’s in vitro fertilization using his sperm and a donor egg, there was never a written contract. When the children were born, he claimed custody of them with his partner.
“We didn’t have everything nailed down because it was based on trust,” Close said. “No money was exchanged.”
Yet McMurrey challenged the mother-child relationship. Since Close was not linked to the children genetically, he alleged they were not hers.
For the past few months, Close has been granted visitation rights for two hours a day, six days a week.
McMurrey and Close will now share custody. According to Close’s attorney, Grady Reiff, there will be a hearing on November 26 to determine the conditions.
McMurrey’s attorney has declined to comment on the case.