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  • What Would You Do: Incredibly Sad Case of Switched Embryos

    Dawn Davenport

    47
    Switched Embryos

    What is the “right” answer when embryos are accidentally switched during IVF?

    I was kind of surprised by how strongly I reacted to the news on the IVF mistake in Italy. It literally made my stomach hurt. I mentioned my reaction to someone who responded: why would it bother you so much since you’ve adopted kids – what`s the difference. Say what!?!

    The Embryo Mix Up

    In December 2013 two women, with very similar last names, went in for their embryo transfer after IVF treatment. One woman became pregnant (with twins) and one woman did not. In the third month of the pregnancy, during routine prenatal testing for chromosomal abnormalities it was discovered that the pregnant couple were not the genetic parents of the twins. It is presumed that the embryos were switched at the time of transfer with each woman getting the other woman’s embryos due to confusion over the similar last names.

    Both couples were told of the mistake, and both couples said they were the “true” parents and wanted to raise the twins.

    What Happened After Birth

    Last week, on Aug. 3, the boy-girl twins were born healthy, and the genetic parents went to court to obtain custody.  Under Italian law whoever gives birth to the child is the legal mother. Surrogacy is illegal, and they have no provision in their law for genetic parents not being the birth parents. As was expected, a court ruled against the genetic parents on Aug. 8 finding that the birth parents were the legal parents.

    That made my stomach hurt.

    What Should Have Happened

    I feel for both sets of parents. Both couples desperately want to be parents; the birth parents (and perhaps the genetic parents) have experienced at least one failed IVF treatment in the past. They are both in an awful position through no fault of their own. A horrible mistake happened.

    I’m no Solomon, and there is no outcome that would erase the pain of either couple, but is seems to me that the more fair outcome for the parents and, most important, the children would be for the genetic parents to raise the children. The infertility clinic should offer to pay for as many IVF cycles as necessary for the birth parents to get pregnant with their own egg and sperm or with donor egg and/or sperm.

    Media Blowing it Out of Proportion

    Some in the media are having a heyday:

    IVF madhouse strikes again. Another tragic baby mix-up

    UNNATURAL DISPUTE! Italy: Custody Battle Over IVF Mix-Up Babies

    Contrary to the buzz, IVF mistakes are rare, and there are things patients can ask and do to make them even less common. See Creating a Family’s Top Ten Tips for Avoiding Medical Mistakes, Errors, and Mix Ups in Infertility Treatment or listen to this Creating a Family show: Switched Embryos and Other IVF Errors and How to Avoid Them

    How Others Have Handled Switched Embryos

    While uncommon, embryos have been mixed up and transferred to the wrong patient during IVF in the past. In a highly publicized 2009 case in the US, an IVF clinic accidentally switched embryos resulting in Carolyn Savage giving birth to a baby boy that was the genetic child of Shannon and Paul Morrells. She relinquished custody to the Morrells at birth.

    Postscript to the Savage Case of IVF Mistake

    Two years after relinquishing the baby to his genetic parents, the Savages became parents of twin girls born through surrogacy using their remaining embryos. This year Carolyn became pregnant without fertility treatment at age 45. This was a “surprise” pregnancy since they had not been able to conceive any of their five children (after their first) without fertility treatment. Their son is due in November.

    Why Adoptive Parents Really Get It

    Why someone would think that adoptive parents would not appreciate the distinction between genetic parents and non-genetic parents is beyond me. In my experience, I think the adoption world is more attuned to the realities of non-genetic parenting than the infertility world.

    The Italian woman that gave birth to the twins said after the birth:

    “We are happy, very happy. Our children are born and they’re well. …No one can take them away.”

    She may be right that when they are young no one can legally take them away from her, but the bigger question in my mind is whether her action will someday drive them away. How will she explain her actions to them when they are older? I don’t envy her having to explain that their genetic parents desperately wanted them, but she refused to give them up because she had carried them for nine month and really really wanted to be a mother? Genes aren’t everything, but they aren’t nothing either.

    What do you think should have happened?

    P.S. If this blog strikes your fancy, please help spread the word by sharing it freely (you use the share buttons below). It`s the single best thing you can do to help us with our mission of providing unbiased education and support on infertility and adoption. THANKS.

     
    Image credit: Kim Hays

    12/08/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 47 Comments



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    47 Responses to What Would You Do: Incredibly Sad Case of Switched Embryos

    1. Jessica says:

      I agree with the author. The genetic parents are the parents. That is their flesh and blood, their DNA, those are THEIR children. Neither set of parents are at fault but at the end of the day, those children did not belong to the birth parents. Additionally, they found out about this VERY early into the pregnancy, not after the children had been home with them and bonded with them. They should have IMMEDIATELY planned for their birthday and for the genetic parents to be there. THAT is the right thing. I feel for both sets of parents, even the birth parents. But there is no way that I could ever live my life knowing I had kept two children from their parents due to my own selfish needs/wants to be a parent and due to a mistake that was not theirs. What do you think these children will say when they get older? They will ALWAYS want to know where they came from and have a deep desire to connect with their true, biological family. This desire is part of all of us – we are divinely designed this way. I agree that the fertility clinic should have refunded ANY money paid by either set of parents and continued to support the birth parents until they were able to have at least two (the number that they lost through this process) children of their own, as well as paid for all medical expenses related to the pregnancy and birth(s). I’m very disappointed in the birth parents for even causing the genetic parents to go through what they did and even more disappointed in the court system in their country.

    2. Lori Lavender Luz says:

      A postscript:

      Carolyn & Sean Savage, mentioned here as parents who went trough this, had their baby last November (he spent weeks in NICU but seems to be out of the woods). I highly recommend their book, “Inconceivable,” available on Amazon and elsewhere http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062004638

    3. marilynn says:

      AnonAP what a very sensitive and eloquent way to put ethics and integrity into words.

    4. AnonAP says:

      It’s not really fair because I’m not really in the situation, but I keep coming back to how I’d feel if I were the pregnant woman and if my husband and I were facing that decision. Basically, as I don’t believe in god or fate or destiny, I would see this as a human error leading to a terrible situation. With that, there is very good chance that if we pushed to keep custody, then I would feel every day that this wasn’t right. That I was taking advantage of an error to have a family at the expense of someone else. I honestly believe that we would have, instead, cried our eyes out many times but then would have made the choice to hand them over with a request to stay a part of the family in some way. As friends with an unusual connection and that we’d get to tell the story as a goof up that allowed for an unexpected gift of meeting strangers and helping their kids get a good start on life. I’m trying to imagine how to tell the story if they stayed wtih us, and I keep coming back to the point of “but it was a mistake…” One way seems like a positive, even nurturing move forward and the other seems like using pain as a justification to choose isolation. It’s a terrible situation because regardless of the end result, people are going to be in pain.

      • AnonAP, [That I was taking advantage of an error to have a family at the expense of someone else.] I think that’s how I would feel–hard to tell since I’ve never been in that place, but from the outside looking in, that’s how I feel.

    5. marilynn says:

      Greg 40
      You said this situation is different because the embryo was implanted in the other woman without anyone knowing. There are numerous examples of exactly this. The point really is that these cases occur without anyone knowing until after the pregnancy was in progress. What all the cases share in common is that the women never consented to allow another woman to carry their children or raise them after birth and the men never consented to get a strange woman pregnant and never consented to allow other people to raise their children either.

      Certainly I would never suggest that a woman have an abortion against her will nor would I suggest that she be forced to carry the pregnancy to term against her will. The pregnant woman has bodily autonomy and interfering in that would be a violation of her freedom. What I object to is the objectification of the person when born because they should not be viewed or treated as the property of the woman who gives birth whether biologically related or not. Biological mothers do have a long unfortunate history of treating their children as property rather than as people deserving of care by their own biological fathers (think paternity fraud for an example of that where they just name their husband instead of their child’s bio father). So it’s not that I think the biological parents have a right to their child but rather their child has a right to them and they in turn have an obligation and in this case the woman who gave birth is interfering with the right of the person she gave birth to, to the performance of those obligations by his or her biological parents.

      Housing a child for 9 months should not be thought of as making a person belong to you. What about the child? Here they are on earth and they have two bio parents who owe it to them to be taking care of them and they never went to court and relinquished their obligations. To top it off – and to Dawn’s point – the parents actually want to raise them! While I don’t think the lack of consent is the only thing that would make the kid in the situation resentful, I do think the fact they want to raise them (which is essentially the lack of consent) like icing on the cake. We should be respecting bodily autonomy on both sides – not forcing women to continue or end pregnancies but also not forcing people to relinquish their genes and forcing them to reproduce and forcing them to relinquish obligations to their resulting children.

    6. Greg says:

      “These people did not consent to have their offspring gestated or raised by anyone else so it’s hard to see how the other people can justify their position. Finders keepers?”

      Marilynn,

      This situation is different in that the embryo was already implanted in the other woman w/out anyone knowing. Basically you’d either be forcing this woman to have an abortion against her will or forcing her to give up the child she housed for 9 months.

    7. a says:

      What about the lack of consent? Gamete and embryo donors at least provide some written consent to allow another person to raise their offspring when born. It’s a private contract, not in court but at least their is proof that they know what they are doing and consented. These people did not consent to have their offspring gestated or raised by anyone else so it’s hard to see how the other people can justify their position. Finders keepers?

      It would be better if the law excluded adults from having a right to have custody of a child and instead gave the right to be taken care of by the adults to the child. First expectation would be to be provided for by the bio parents and failing that would be to have other suitable adults interested in raising them evaluated and then legally assigned responsibility. Like adoption is supposed to work.

      But without someone’s express consent then what is the point of any sperm egg or embryo agreement? If it’s possible to just take someone’s genes without their permission and force them to reproduce and keep their children from them without their consent then nobody has bodily autonomy. If this case is an example of how things can go when their is not consent then nobody really has reproductive freedom. That is scary

    8. anonymous says:

      “I don’t believe 6 months to a year of counseling would make enough of a difference to clear third heads. I think it would take years of counseling to at least improve their state of mind.”

      If the mother emotionally bonded to her baby as a mother while gestating, it’s not going to hurt any less to lose her baby then if it was her own genetic child.

      One way to predict PTSD or serious trauma is the degree to which bodily control is removed.

      The mother lost control over her implantation. Forced removal of the children would raise the risk for trauma.

    9. anonymous says:

      It’s a horrible mistake, and both couples should receive reparations from the fertility clinic.

      Is it too controversial on this blog to say that abortion is an option, especially if the mistake was discovered early?

      This was not a surrogate pregnancy. This woman saw this pregnancy as her own. She would be obliged to adopt out her twins to transfer custody.

      If the mistake is discovered too late — Women are never obligated to adopt out their children if they do not desire to do so.

      The standard “for the good of the child” is not sufficient. People should only consider adoption if they do not desire to parent, or if they consider themselves unable to parent.

      This couple emotionally attached to their gestational children. It appears that they emotionally attached to the children as parents, and they are competent to parent.

      Many people could be classified as “better” for a child, including those who are not middle-class “respectable,” non-disabled, or don’t have sufficient money to pay for a University education for their children.

      It’s a dangerous standard — to require that all children should be adopted out if we decide that another couple would be better “for the sake of the child.”

    10. Greg says:

      “That’s why I felt that it was an important question that the “birth” parents should have asked themselves – if they would have swapped the babies if both sets had been born alive, then I feel that they should have used that answer to gude their decision this time.
      I wonder if the couples received any counselling to help them make their decision?”

      Not that I’m trying to defend their actions but I think you have to recognize where they are coming from. You take all of the emotions that come with first finding out that you are infertile then you finally become pregnant only to find out that the embryo that’s been growing inside of you that you thought was genetically yours was actually someone else’s. Walking away from this child and not knowing whether any of their embryos would work is a big risk for a couple that is emotionally fragile. It must have really messed them up. I don’t believe 6 months to a year of counseling would make enough of a difference to clear third heads. I think it would take years of counseling to at least improve their state of mind.

      So while your point is valid and I agree with, in reality I don’t believe this couple was capable of looking at it that way. What they went through makes it easier said than done.

      Honestly I couldn’t imagine having to make that decision. Because in doing what deep down I knew was the right thing, there are no guarantees that I would have our happy ending.

    11. cb says:

      “I think this case and the adults relationship would be much different if the first scenario occurred. Maybe I’m just being naive but I think the adults would have switched babies at birth and the genetic parents would have raised the child/ren they conceived (not gave birth to). I tend to believe the desire to raise the child that share their genetics would override the desire to raise the child they gave birth to.”

      Thank you, Greg. I really appreciate you answering the question – I hoped someone would :)

      That’s why I felt that it was an important question that the “birth” parents should have asked themselves – if they would have swapped the babies if both sets had been born alive, then I feel that they should have used that answer to gude their decision this time.

      I wonder if the couples received any counselling to help them make their decision?

      • cb, good question about counseling. I don’t know, but from the little that I’ve read, it appears that they made the decision very soon after being told that the children the birth mom was carrying were not their genetic kids.

    12. B says:

      I hope both sets of parents were able to sue and receive compensation, and give it to the children who had nothing to do with any decisions, actions or mistakes made.

      I hope the children can know all of their fathers and mothers and extended family members, in peace and truth.

      I hope these kids will never ever have to worry about finances, never.

      They, most of all, did not deserve this horrible mistake and they will be the ones who get to bare the brunt of it in the long run.

    13. Greg says:

      “I wonder what the outcome would have been if both sets of parents had carried their babies to term.
      I wonder also whether the birthparents will allow the child any contact with the biological parents at any time during their life.”

      CB,

      I’ll take a shot at both of these questions.

      I think this case and the adults relationship would be much different if the first scenario occurred. Maybe I’m just being naive but I think the adults would have switched babies at birth and the genetic parents would have raised the child/ren they conceived (not gave birth to). I tend to believe the desire to raise the child that share their genetics would override the desire to raise the child they gave birth to.

      Regarding your second question it doesn’t appear that this will happen. I think the birthparents especially after the court case are insecure and will be reluctant to tell the children anything or let them ever contact their genetic parents. In the long run I don’t think any one will win in this case. It reminds you a lot of an open adoption that the Parents end up closing the birth mother out of the child’s life.

    14. Anonymous says:

      Wow. Dawn I have a legitimate point and a legitimate question. I answered yours. You asked if I was like the person who was surprised at your opinion because you’re an adoptive mother and I said no I’m surprised because you don’t have the same empathy for other children who get separated from their bio parents as a service to the people who want to raise them. You are outraged here that people who want to raise the child think that is a good reason to separate a kid from their bio family. You said so. But you don’t share the same outrage for other people who do the same thing and I am really challenging you to think about why you think it is so wrong in this case but not in sperm egg and embryo adoption. If something is wrong its wrong regardless of how other people happen to feel about it. If you think it’s wrong to take someone else’s offspring away from their family solely because that person wants to raise a child so badly then it should not matter how the bio parents feel; the only relevant factor is whether or not the child is with the unrelated parents for a reason that is for their benefit rather than the adults. Most adoptions fall into that broad category. Ones that do not would be traditional surrogacy where the bio mother also gestates delivers and relinquishes for adoption, solely because in her mind she made that particular offspring to be raised by other people. So I think your opinion falls in line with an adoptive parents perspective which is generally that they are adopting a child that has no other reasonable alternative in his or her family and the relinquishing is not being done as a service to them. Slam me all you want but you are holding conflicting opinions and I was wondering if you’d elaborate on that. It is not two different things. It’s all the same song the blog is about different ways people come to be raising other people’s offspring and the ethical and legal questions that come up.

      I really do know a lot of people separated from their families for all sorts of reasons. Maybe not as many as you Dawn but I know a whole lot. You have an opinion here that separating minors from their bio parents is not fair when the reason is that the separators want a child to raise really badly. So it should not matter if anyone else wants them or not, the reason for the separation should never be that someone else wants to raise them really badly. I do know plenty of people who have absent bio mothers who were raised by the woman that gave birth to them and they sincerely don’t remember anything about being conceived or born. They think of her as their mother because she raised them, not gestated them. They think of their bio mother as their mother because they are related to her in that mother/child way.

    15. TOmama says:

      Dawn – I want to add my two cents in here. I agree with justin. Marilynn’s presence in this community (and she shows up on virtually all internet communities discussing third party reproduction whether she is engaged with or not) drives me away from reading the comments. A place I find also is rich with information. As a Jewish woman i would no sooner stay part of or read content in a community that allowed anti-Semitic hatred to be spewed in comments.

      There is no safe place on the internet except for Olivia’s donor conception blog (where I believe marilynn has been banned) to explore these complex issues without fear of hatred being spewed in the name of a bio-supremacist agenda.

      With regard to the article above – it is a travesty. I have no idea what the “right” thing to do here would be. Both parts of child creation (DNA contribution and gestation) are essentially to life.

      • TOmama, I appreciate your position. I’ve thought about it a lot, but this site is an open place for discussion–even annoying discussion. I honestly think we’d see a lot less of what is often off topic discussion (since Marilyn posts the same thing on even tangentially related topics) if people would not engage. There is only so much someone can talk by themselves. Comments that are simply a restatement where no one is responding are not approved.

        Every time I think about the situation both families in Italy are in, it makes me sad. I hope to goodness that infertility clinic is doing everything they can to help the genetic parents.

    16. AnonT says:

      Wow, that is a really terrible situation. I totally agree with your conclusion. After birth, the twins should have gone to the genetic parents and the fertility clinic should have paid for future IVF cycles and/or surrogacy or whatever it takes to get them a child. Ideally, these families will stay in touch so that the twins know their history of how they came to be. I’m confused as to how they figured out through prenatal testing that the twins were not biologically related to the parents. That makes me think that the parents had some genetic condition? Anyway, I feel like in this case the answer is pretty clear. Not to minimize the difficulty and connection you feel when you carry a child or the fear they might feel that maybe if they let these children go they will never have another chance at having babies….but ultimately it seems like your suggestion is the right thing to do.
      I also agree that this will be impossible situation to explain to the children. I wonder how the parents will deal with this? Or how the twins would feel when they are older and they find these news articles online?

    17. cb says:

      I think they should have asked themselves the question that I asked at question @5 and have that answer shape their decision.

    18. Justin says:

      I do not often become enraged or horribly offended when reading a comment section, but this time I did. marylinn, our local bio-supremacist, stated in comment 21 that my children, as all children of gamete donation or closed adoptions, will have a “bleak existence”.

      There is no use writing to marylinn or answering her. She is trapped in her own quasi-Nazi ideology, and nothing can be done of it, so I will write to you, Dawn.

      I come to this forum as a place of support, a place where I can listen, speak and be heard. I visit this site as a source not only of information, but more so of community. I believe most people who visit your site have been wounded by their own biology, by life events, by medical failures and by social stigma and discrimination, and many are like me – seeking a safe shelter. Letting comments such as marylinn’s into this site, while perhaps increasing its informative platform, destroys the community feeling, the safety and the supportive aspect of the site.

      I beseech you again – please save this site as a place of community and sanctuary for me and my fellow wounded people, and moderate hateful and derogatory comments toward people who are in the process of creating a family.

    19. Greg says:

      “I’m surprised at your reaction because you don’t have this same empathy for the children of traditional surrogates or egg/sperm/embryo donors”

      Marilynn,

      It has nothing to do with not having empathy for another person’s situation. This case is a unique situation where you have two sets of adults who are intended parents. This isn’t like third party reproduction where you only have two adults (sometimes just one) who are intended parents. So ones opinion comes down to which do they believe takes precedence the genetic parents or the birth parents.

      “It is really beautiful when someone who cannot have children can be matched with a child who is not safe in the care of his or her parents and they form a bond sometimes stronger than bio parents and children do – but that is when the adoption or guardianship is in service to the child rather than the adult. There is much for people to resent when they are separated in service to adults looking for other people’s kids to build their families with. Plenty of room for hard feelings even when they know that their bio parents did not want to be parents when their social parents wanted their bio family to be absent.”

      How is any of this relevant to this discussion?

    20. marilynn says:

      I’m surprised at your reaction because you don’t have this same empathy for the children of traditional surrogates or egg/sperm/embryo donors when they obviously face the very same kind of bleak existence raised by someone who actually requested that they be abandoned by at least one of their biological parents, someone who wanted to separate them from their biological family and sequester them from contact with their maternal and or paternal relatives because they wanted to experience a legal parenthood that, on the outside, appeared to be biological – no court approved adoption records.

      You are viewing this situation as if it were a contested adoption and the prospective adoptive parents are fighting the parents for custody. You think the kid will resent the prospective adoptive parents for keeping them from their bio family BUT ONLY because their bio family wants to raise them. If their bio family did not want to raise them then you draw the conclusion that the potentially adopted person would have no reason to resent the potential adoptive parents. Your conclusion is logical in adoption where the prospective adopter’s desire to raise another person’s child is not the driving factor behind relinquishment or abandonment.

      One comment above mentions how the woman who delivered the baby should get to keep the baby because the baby knows her smell. That is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. What person remembers their own fetus-hood? Nobody remembers being gestated and in the long run being separated from their own actual biological parents who made them and should be taking responsibility for them is a much bigger affront than not getting to be raised by the woman who gestated them and whoever she happens to be sleeping with at the moment. Seriously there is no amount of gestating and delivery in the world that will change who a person’s biological mother and maternal relatives are and so separating a person physically and legally from their own family and trying to supplant another family should only be done in extreeme circumstances for the child’s protection and not for the purpose of building a family for someone who can’t have children of their own. It is really beautiful when someone who cannot have children can be matched with a child who is not safe in the care of his or her parents and they form a bond sometimes stronger than bio parents and children do – but that is when the adoption or guardianship is in service to the child rather than the adult. There is much for people to resent when they are separated in service to adults looking for other people’s kids to build their families with. Plenty of room for hard feelings even when they know that their bio parents did not want to be parents when their social parents wanted their bio family to be absent.

    21. Greg says:

      “I do think co-parenting could work – but only if both sides wanted it, and it doesn’t sound that way at this time. It would work the same way as divorced parents, not the ideal, but it is doable.”

      You may find this hard to believe Tao but I actually agree with you here. Though I lean towards the genetic parents having custody, the most fair option to me is for a co-parenting situation. As you said it’s not ideal but it makes the best of a less than ideal situation. But it sounds like it would end up like a divorced situation where the children would be put in the middle of their disputes.

      “Sad that giving birth is so blown out of proportion that the people who really aare responsible have been shut out.”

      Marilynn,

      Both the birth mother and genetic parents are responsible for the children being. The children wouldn’t exist if not for the genetic parents DNA that formed their conception. They also wouldn’t exist if not for their birth mother housing them for 9 months in her body.

      We get that you think that genetics has priority in this case but that doesn’t mean that carrying a pregnancy and birthing doesn’t hold any importance.

    22. marilynn says:

      Dawn you said “She may be right that when they are young no one can legally take them away from her, but the bigger question in my mind is whether her action will someday drive them away. How will she explain her actions to them when they are older? I don’t envy her having to explain that their genetic parents desperately wanted them, but she refused to give them up because she had carried them for nine month and really really wanted to be a mother? Genes aren’t everything, but they aren’t nothing either.”

      Of course I agree completely. Obviously wanting a child to be your own and or gestatating a child as if he/she had been your own is not the same as actually having a child that is your own walking the face of this earth. That is a tremendous responsibility whether the parent wanted it or intended it or is prepared for it – responsibility is like that, it follows are actions like it or not.Certainly a person’s offspring has a vested interest in being wanted and cared for by their own family – whether that family is thrilled or not is not relevant to the fact that care by them is a right where care by someone else is discressional and with permission of or at least recognition of the parents who brought them into this world. Sad that giving birth is so blown out of proportion that the people who really aare responsible have been shut out.

    23. a says:

      Dawn
      I’m really surprised at your answer and wow. I think your answer is spot on exactly right.

    24. Daniela says:

      I think the birth parents have equal rights to the children, the mix up hurt both families and asking them to carry the children and then give them up is simply cruel and unthoughtful at best. Co-parenting is a nightmare–especially if parents are not on the same page. It does not work in custody (personally, dads do a better job in more cases and I push for gender parity in custody and child support ALL the time) and would not be best for the child here. I honestly don’t get why anyone would be happier with the genetic parents getting the child and letting the parents who carried them… oh so sorry Italy does not allow surrogates but you are unpaid and unchosen surrogates regardless. I do think the clinic owes the genetic couple ten times what they paid in pain and suffering AND all legal fees AND any treatments they desire until live birth not costing a penny.

    25. Traci says:

      As a mom to two boys who joined our family through embryo adoption, this story hit me hard. I cannot imagine how I would feel if there was a mistake and our boys genetic parents had not willingly allowed us to raise them. We cherish the ongoing relationship we have with their bio family, and I cannot fathom raising my children knowing their bio parents desperately wanted to raise them too. I would feel in a way like I had “stolen” them, even if it was no fault of my own. What a terrible situation to be in, and what a difficult place for these children as they grow up, if the relationship between the families cannot be mended. I will be praying for both of these families.

    26. Jessica says:

      While I understand the hurt and anger of the genetic parents, I disagree. The twins should be with the mom who raised them in her womb. The court made the right decision. Those babies know that mothers smell, heart rate and her voice. She is their world. Adoption is always a traumatic experience and it would cause much stress and trauma for the babies to be taken away from the mother who had helped create and carry them for 9 months. They may not have here genes but they have the love and nutrients and care she has given them for the last months. Whether or not they want to know their genetic parents or have a relationship with them in the future should be the child’s choice. It’s not about what is best for genetic parents but what is best for the babies. Think about it from their stance. Would you want to be taken away from a perfectly loving mom right after your entry into this world? How devastating!

      • Jessica, this is one of those cases where what’s in the best interest of the children is not clear. I fear, however, that the court decided based on the best interest of the adults, not the kids. Such a sad and complicated situation!!

    27. Terri says:

      I think the birth parents should keep and raise the babies and the genetic parents should not ever pursue them and turn their world upside down. I also think the clinic should do in-vitro with the genetic parents until they are able to have 2 children and not charge them a penny for it.

    28. cb says:

      Just some questions:

      I wonder what the outcome would have been if both sets of parents had carried their babies to term.

      I wonder also whether the birthparents will allow the child any contact with the biological parents at any time during their life.

      • cb, great question. While we will never know, what would have happened if both women had carried the babies they had conceived to term, but I bet the outcome would be very different. I’d love to hear what others think.

        I haven’t heard anything about whether the birth parents plan on allowing contact, but I imagine not. The concept of open adoption is not common in Italy. I don’t even know if they will tell the children. However, I can’t imagine a scenario where these children will not find out. This whole case just seem so sad, and the outcome so wrong. This just doesn’t seem like it is in the best interest of those children.

    29. AnonAP says:

      Awful. Awful, awful, awful. I’m in total agreement with you, Dawn.

    30. TAO says:

      Dawn,

      What may happen? She may never tell them if names have not been used and hope that the “secret” is never revealed, although I think that is a pipe dream seeing as the twins have other parents out there who will be waiting for them to reach the age of majority – if things stay the status quo.

      When they find out – it could go either way honestly – many adoptees know things weren’t always on the up and up and feel no need to search. The concern I have for the twins if/when they find out is the internal conflicted feelings that will happen. Most kids love their parents and then to be told their parents did that, kept them from being raised by their rightful parents who wanted them? How can you ever resolve the feelings fighting inside of you – you love the people who did you and your parents wrong. I feel for them when that day happens…

      And why ethics and fair play matter so much to me in all areas of this nature – to have found out my adoption wasn’t squeaky clean would have made that internal conflict happen.

      I do think co-parenting could work – but only if both sides wanted it, and it doesn’t sound that way at this time. It would work the same way as divorced parents, not the ideal, but it is doable.

      The children should become the legal children of the genetic parents, she should have an open “surrogacy” relationship (like open adoption)…I think that is the only ethical solution to this mess.

      I’m wondering how this will play out with the Hague Treaty Italy has signed on the Rights of the Child (probably not the right name but only the US and Somalia have not signed it). Could the genetic parents take the case to them? Is there any recourse there?

      • I don’t know whether the birth parents will tell them. They may not even know now, and on some level they probably want to not tell them. However, given the publicity about this case, there is no way the children won’t eventually find out. The press may not have released their names, but I would strongly suspect that everyone in both sets of parent’s community and life know. Talk about a HUGE secret to try to keep!

    31. Darcy says:

      What a horrible accident! I can’t even weigh in because I want both sets to have them. :(

    32. Margaret says:

      I don’t know what they should have done, but it’s a shame that the legal action has probably caused so much tension between both sets of parents that they would be likely to reject any ongoing relationship. Even if the genetic parents did not raise the twins, it would most likely be beneficial for the twins to have some sort of connection with them. Now the relationships are so fraught that might never happen and once again the kids lose out because of the choices of the parents…

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