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Gays and Lesbians Fight over Kids
November 12, 2014 permalink
Two couples, a pair of gay men and another pair of lesbian women, conceived two children through a sperm donation. The outcome was years of litigation over the children.
Sperm deal children ‘irredeemably marred’ by four-parent feud
Judge warns of trauma ‘unleashed’ by fallout from ‘known-donor fertilisation’ arrangement between former friends
Two young girls born through an informal sperm donation deal between a gay couple and a lesbian couple have been scarred for life by a bitter six-year feud after their two fathers and two mothers fell out, a judge has warned.
Mr Justice Cobb, said the girls, aged nine and 13, described by teachers as polite and highly intelligent, had seen their childhoods “irredeemably marred” by living through what was arguably the most “bruising and distressing” case he had ever been involved in.
The parents, who were also described as intelligent and sophisticated, had also paid a “high psychological price”, he said – particularly the girls’ biological mother who descended into serious mental health problems, which he said was undoubtedly worsened by the stress of the case.
But he said the emotional and psychological wreckage “illustrates all too clearly” the problems “unleashed” by such informal arrangements between friends or acquaintances.
Details of the case are disclosed in a lengthy judgment from the High Court Family Division published online as the judge ruled that the six-year contact dispute between the two couples must end because of the damage it was doing to their daughters.
It discloses that the couples, who are both separately in civil partnerships, ran up more than half a million pounds in legal costs in a case involving more than 30 separate court orders and a string of judges.
The judge ruled that the girls should remain living with the mothers – despite serious problems at home including domestic violence between the two women at times – because to move the children would have an even more “devastating” effect on them.
He ruled that the mothers would be supervised by social services and that the fathers would have contact with the younger daughter – known as B – but only write to the older girl – known as A – because she had become convinced she did not want to see them.
Imposing a resolution on the couples, he said: “The case illustrates all too clearly the immense difficulties which can be unleashed when families are created by known-donor fertilisation … Thoughtful and sophisticated people find themselves experiencing remarkable, unprecedented, emotional difficulty, with no easy way of out of it.
“A very high psychological price can be paid, and I believe has been paid in this case, by all concerned.”
The judgment details serious domestic problems between the women. The biological mother – known as M1 – was in and out of hospitals and clinics for mental health treatment and became heavily reliant on her partner, known as M2. But she was described as “controlling” and, at times “callous and uncaring” towards M1.
Although they provided the girls with a “vibrant” and “educational” environment, social workers said the women also built a “high-wall fortress” around them, excluding anyone who disagreed with them – including the two fathers.
But the judge said the fathers were also guilty of “raising the temperature” in the dispute, upping their demands and claiming that the girls’ treatment amounted to torture and even that their lives were at risk.
“It will be apparent from reading this, and my previous judgements, that the litigation has had a destructive effect on the parties," he said.
“I fear that the childhoods of A and B have been irredeemably marred by the ongoing court conflict.”
He added: “This litigation has become, on my assessment, as bruising and distressing an experience for these lay parties as any family law litigation in which I have been involved either as advocate or judge. “
Source: Telegraph (UK)