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Atlanta man home with triplets after months battling surrogacy case

An Atlanta man who was at the center of a surrogate-mom controversy has returned home and is caring for triplets.

The man, who has only been identified in court papers as C.M., had been stuck in California under a court order since the triplets were born in February. He was able to return to Georgia in mid-April and according to his attorney, he and the babies are doing fine.

Robert Walmsley, C.M.'s attorney, said his client  -- a single, 50-year-old, deaf postal worker -- is currently on a 12-week leave from his job and is taking care of his three sons along with relatives and hired help, reports People Magazine .

Walmsley also claims that his client is being "watched" by investigators from Georgia's Child Protective Services.

Melissa Cook,  the 48-year-old surrogate who filed multiple lawsuits to have California's surrogacy law declared unconstitutional and grant her custody of at least one of the children, has said she is still concerned about the well-being of the babies and will continue to fight.

The whole thing got off to a rocky start last May when Cook signed a contract with Surrogacy International to become a gestational surrogate .

She was also offered at least $26,000 and an extra $6,000 for each additional child she delivered. Weeks before the contract was signed, C.M. sent an email to his attorney, Walmsley (who is also co-owner of Surrogacy International) telling him he had run out of money.

Cook says C.M. then assured her he was prepared to care for the babies and things proceeded as planned. In August, three embryos from C.M.'s sperm and donated ova were implanted in Cook. A month later, she said she got another email from C.M., asking her to abort all the three.

For months, she emailed with C.M. and Walmsley, who then asked her to abort just one of the babies instead of all three. At the time, Walmsley said it was for concerns about her health and the health of the babies.

On Feb. 22, the babies were born seven weeks premature and whisked away from Cook, who has never seen them.

While the law in California is straightforward when it comes to parental rights of gestational carriers (they have none), the case has brought forward concerns about the booming surrogate business.

Though the majority of contracts proceed without problems, there have been cases where intended parents have abandoned the surrogate they've hired without pay and cases where surrogates have refused to give the child/children to the parents and then demanded child support to raise them.

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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.