Friday, September 25, 2009

Embryo mixup woman gives birth

On my CNN reader this evening an article (Woman in embryo mix-up gives birth to baby boy) about the family from Sylvania, Ohio that had an IVF mixup and the wrong embryo was implanted into Carolyn Savage gave birth to a healthy baby boy today.  This baby has absolutely no genetic condition to either Carolyn or her husband.  Carolyn was, due to negligence of the clinic, an involuntary gestational surrogate!  While I'm sure they could have aborted the baby that was not theirs, they chose to carry him to term and relinquish him to his biological parents.

I think what this couple did was an amazing act of generosity, receiving none of the benefits that surrogates receive, and going into the procedure expecting to have a new baby of their own in 9 months (they already had 3 children).  I can only imagine what a painful experience this must have been, for both the Savages, the biological parents, but also for this poor little boy, who became attached to a woman while in the womb and is now tore away from her, even if he is going to his biological mother.

It makes me think of the legal ramifications of this mixup, and the subsequent outcome.  First of all, US law states that the legal parents of a child are determined by who gives birth -- the LEGAL mother is the gestational mother as she gave birth to him, and her husband is the legal father because he is married to her.  This is the beauty of donor conception - the "parents" are on the birth certificate as the legal and biological parents because the legal system allows them to deceive.  

However, nowhere in the article does it state that the Savages were listed as the biological parents on the boy's birth certificate, or that his biological parents had to legally adopt him.  The article says relinquish, but that does not mean that legally the child was not theirs at first.  I would think that if the average American learned that the couple that was this baby's biological parents had to ADOPT him, they would be outraged!!  Sure, it seems like it's such a perfect little system when we're dealing with embryos who were supposed to be put in another person's body, but all of the sudden when it's a boo-boo on a clinic's part, it's this terrible situation!

The interesting part is that there was no possibility for the Savages to even keep the little baby, even though according to US law they ARE the parents!!  This story definitely turns the whole legal aspect of ART on its side.

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