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Psychological Report: Surrogate Would Have Difficulty Parting With Baby

March 10, 1987

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) _ A report written on Mary Beth Whitehead before she became a surrogate mother indicated she could have trouble giving up a child, but she and the couple who hired her deny seeing the document before the birth.

The report by Joan Einwohner, a clinical psychologist with the clinic that arranged the $10,000 surrogate motherhood contract, was entered into evidence Monday on the final day of testimony in the Baby M trial.

″In a nutshell, if someone had read the report and paid attention to it, we would not be here right now,″ said Robert Ruggieri, one of Mrs. Whitehead’s attorneys.

Mrs. Whitehead, a 29-year-old Brick Township homemaker, had agreed to be artificially inseminated with William Stern’s sperm and bear a child for him and his wife, Elizabeth, but she changed her mind and refused to give up the baby.

The Sterns are suing for custody of the girl, who will be a year old on March 27. Superior Court Judge Harvey R. Sorkow, who must decide custody and whether the surrogate contract is valid, is expected to rule on March 30.

Ms. Einwohner wrote in the 1984 report for the Infertility Center of New York, ″It would it be important to explore with her in somewhat more depth whether she will be able to relinquish the child at the end.″

″In spite of much talk about how wearying she finds pre-school children, she does care for her sister-in-law’s 2-year-old during the day and one wonders about her underlying needs to have a child at home,″ the report said. ″She may have more needs to have another child than she is admitting.″

However, Ms. Einwohner concluded: ″Except for the above reservations, Ms. Whitehead is recommended as an appropriate candidate for being a surrogate.″

Ms. Einwohner did not testify in the 31-day trial but authenticated the document in interviews with attorneys that were read into the record by Mrs. Whitehead’s lawyers.

In earlier testimony, Mrs. Whitehead, who was not at Monday’s proceedings, said she never read the report and was told she had passed.

The Sterns said outside the courtroom Monday that they did not read the report because the Infertility Center had told them Mrs. Whitehead had passed.

However, when Mrs. Whitehead refused to give up the child, the Sterns went to the center and had a worker pull her file.

″We had a hard time getting it at first,″ Mrs. Stern said. ″They finally found it. And when we saw it, we were very upset.″

Asked whether they would have entered into the arrangement had they read the report earlier, Mrs. Stern said, ″We would have either asked for another report or rejected her.″

Her husband added: ″We relied on the expertise of the ICNY.″

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