March 11, 2015
Lamar Sally Says Court Battle with Sherri Shepherd over Surrogacy Is ‘Heartbreaking’
By Emily Strohm
Sherri Shepherd will have to wait a little longer to see if a judge declares her to be the mother of a baby boy born to a surrogate last August.
On Wednesday, a Pennsylvania judge continued the hearing to determine who should be the mother of the child – Shepherd, the surrogate or the egg donor – until April 21. While court proceedings were closed, PEOPLE has learned Shepherd has yet to testify. Despite that, the former View host’s second husband Lamar Sally claims his ex-wife does not want to be a parent to the now 7-month-old child they agreed to have via surrogate before their 2014 split.
According to Sally, he and Shepherd, 47, initially agreed to use his sperm and a donor egg with a surrogate after doctors discovered her eggs were not viable. Sally claims Shepherd had a drastic change of heart months into the surrogate’s pregnancy, and no longer wished to be associated with the child. Sally currently has custody of the baby.
The surrogate, Jessica Bartholomew, is currently listed as the child’s mother on the birth certificate, but is fighting to have that changed.
“I’m just frustrated that I’m the mother of the baby, but hopefully when we come back again all that will change,” Bartholomew told PEOPLE after leaving court on Wednesday.
Sally, meanwhile, spoke to PEOPLE about the emotional toll the court proceeding has taken.
“It’s heartbreaking, actually, very heartbreaking,” Sally, who testified at the hearing, told PEOPLE outside court.
The couple used Reproductive Possibilities to arrange the surrogacy, and the owner of the company, attorney Melissa B. Brisman, also attended the proceedings Wednesday since the outcome could have implications on future surrogacy cases.
“That’s why we’re all here,” Brisman told PEOPLE outside court. “Regardless of the Sallys, it’s not about the Sallys. We want intact families from surrogacy. If you enter into a surrogacy, we want you to be liable for the child you created. That is beyond this case. This is about surrogacy.”
“Our office has done 200 of these [a year] and this is the first time we’ve had this happen,” Brisman said. “It’s usually the intended parents who are afraid that the carrier may want to keep the baby.”
“It’s an unusual circumstance where you have someone who came into a relationship and then doesn’t want the baby,” she added.
Shepherd is expected to testify once court reconvenes next month.