The Legal Maze of Twins with Three ‘Mothers’
(Editor’s note: Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse posted three articles at the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse website two years ago this month. Here are their titles: Privatizing Marriage Is Impossible; Privatizing Marriage Will Expand the Role of the State; Privatizing Marriage Is Unjust to Children. BarbWire highly recommends them, as Dr. Morse predicted the issues outlined in the article excerpted below.)
A case concerning twin girls has come before the Court of Appeal that almost defies imagination in its complexity of relationships. If it weren’t a disturbing harbinger of things to come, it could almost be dismissed as a comedy of errors.
The story starts in the 1990s with two lesbians beginning an ‘intimate relationship’. At some point the relationship became platonic but the two women continued to share a house together until 2012. They disagree over the point at which their relationship became platonic.
While the relationship was still “intimate,” following unsuccessful attempts by the one of the women (the respondent) to conceive using her own eggs, the other (the appellant) agreed to donate her own eggs so that the respondent could become pregnant. She donated eggs which were fertilised with sperm from an anonymous male donor. A number of embryos were created as a result.
Some of the embryos were implanted in the respondent who carried and gave birth to twins. So the twins have a birth mother (who therefore became the legal mother), a different biological mother (who has no legal rights or responsibilities, despite being their biological mother) and a genetic father who is currently anonymous.
This case gets more complex. Some of the original embryos remained so one was implanted to the appellant (the woman who had donated her eggs to create them) and she then gave birth to her own daughter, D, in November 2012.
So by this point the appellant is both the biological and birth mother, and thus legal mother, of D, with the same anonymous donor for the father as the twins have. She is, of course, also the biological mother of the twins and because the children all have the same father, biologically, they are full siblings. However, she is not the twins’ legal mother. Under section 27 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, the other woman, the respondent, is the twins’ mother.
Read more: ConservativeWoman.Co.Uk.com
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