28th September 2012 | by MFC Team
Lesbian couple win legal battle over child created with donor sperm
A lesbian couple who created their family using donor sperm recently won sole custody of their child after a three-year legal battle. The sperm donor and his wife had originally agreed to the donation, but after the child was born the donor’s wife changed her mind about the donation. The couple took their case to High Court and unsuccessfully sued the lesbian mothers for sole custody of the child.
Although sperm donors are typically anonymous until the child turns 18, this donor wanted to be known to the child and the couple, and therefore arranged to donate his sperm privately – without the involvement of a sperm bank donation center – and without pre-donation implications counselling. Because both of the lesbian women were struggling with infertility challenges, their friend acted as a surrogate mother to the child, and donated her eggs – one of which was fertilized with the donor’s sperm. The surrogate mother carried the baby to full term and as agreed, handed the child over to her friends. When the couple filed papers to legally adopt their child – as is typically the case – local authorities denied their request. So the surrogate mother reportedly changed her name temporarily. That name was put on the baby’s birth certificate so the baby’s last name would be the same as one of the child’s mothers.
Several months later, the sperm donor’s wife reportedly received counsel from a lawyer who suggested that they could sue the lesbian couple for sole custody since the mothers were not the child’s genetic or “legal” parents. The donor and his wife took the case to High Court and lost the battle for custody. The donor’s wife now believes that wives should receive counselling before giving their consent for their partners to become sperm donors.
Read an article outlining the case here.