Laws for IVF are clearly lacking. While clinics around the world are offering IVF services, it seems the discussion about bioethics and proper legal framework in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD is lost. What does that say about us as a community? In the 21st century, we will be seeing legalized same-sex marriage, which may lead to increase of IVF children, where are the RIGHTS to protect them? Do children who have NO LEGAL MOTHER as in certain IVF cases have EQUAL RIGHTS as other children?
IVF and Divorce
Case 1) Heterosexual Divorce, Roman V Roman
In a case in Texas, a heterosexual couple divorced (which is normal) but had frozen embryos from their individual DNA. What should we do about the frozen embryos? The husband wanted them destroyed as per the contract both husband and wife had signed. The wife wanted to have a child and there we had a court case to decide. The attorney for the wife claimed that the wife thought she would at least get one chance to inseminate even though the contract made NO mention of it. The Texas Supreme Court upheld the contract and so did the US Supreme Court and the frozen embryos were destroyed.
Case 2) Same-sex Split (Cannot call it divorce because same-sex marriage is not legal yet)
In a case in Kansas, a lesbian couple wanted to have a child for which they needed sperm. They put up an ad on Craigslist and got a response from a man who gave them his sperm with full understanding from ALL that he would have NO paternal responsibility or accountability. A lovely child was born. Legally at the time of the case, same-sex marriage is illegal in Kansas and at the time of this writing, it still is. So we cannot call it a “divorce” but the lesbian couple split and one of the mother decided to get support from the state for the child. The state ordered the “sperm donor” to pay child support. Whoa!
Case 3) Ex-wife tricked husband and had IVF children AFTER divorce from frozen sperm
In a case in the UK, a husband was tricked by his ex-wife who had two IVF children AFTER They divorced from his frozen sperm. The “father” only found out when one of the children had a hole in the heart and needed genetic history and financial support. A UK court ordered the “father” to pay 100,000 pounds to children he never knew he had.
In another case in Abu Dhabi, another ex-wife tricked the ex-husband by having an IVF child AFTER the divorce from his frozen sperm. Later she filed for child support and the court ordered the ex-husband to pay child support.
Case 4) Intersex Divorce – Legally intersex marriage is not legal yet, so how can a divorce be?
In a case in Texas, an intersex person filed for divorce while an ongoing IVF pregnancy in India without declaring the IVF pregnancy to the court. The court did NOT find the innocent IVF child to be of the marriage and therefore receives NO child support from the intersex person. Again, an intersex marriage is not legal in Texas and so what is the legality of the divorce AND the decree of the divorce? Legally, it’s a void marriage. More importantly, is the life of an IVF child LESSER than that of a natural born child? Is the child support for the “child” or the “parent”? If the child is born to a spouse of intersex, a male, is the respect and dignity of the innocent human being LESS? Ironically, its a repeat of what intersex people feel, lack of dignity and respect as a human being. By passing it onto others, especially innocent children, DOES NOT make it right.
Side note to intersex : Stop lying, start living with the truth. It will save a lot of stress and lives. Tony Briffa and Imogen Callaway are leading by example.
Should sperm donors and egg donors be responsible for child support? Is the current system scaring potential donors away? How will gays, lesbians, intersex people have children without donors? Regardless of your sexual orientation or gender, if you are fertile and altruistic, you may consider donating your sperm or egg. Are there risks you have not thought about? Are the laws there to protect you as fertile donors? As per current laws, an intersex person who can neither donate egg or sperm to have a child and therefore does not have to pay any child support. Seems fair?
5) In another case, an IVF clinic was not found liable for “accidentally” swapping the sperm samples. What is appalling is that if a medical doctor/hospital operates on wrong part of your body like working on the left knee Vs. right knee or left finger Vs right finger then they are held liable for medical negligence. But if you “create” an entire human being “mistakenly”, then there is no liability or culpability? What about the legal rights of the IVF child? Sad to say but a human finger or a pet has more “value” than an entire IVF child. If a child has autism or cystic fibrosis or any of the “rare conditions”, their needs are recognized and dealt with then why not the same equal treatment for an IVF child?
The most appalling thing is no one cares and somehow no one see the “dehumanization” of the IVF child. Immigration is just one of the issues but for people to somehow think “infertility” is a personal problem are dead wrong. Once the IVF child is born, they are a human being with a guarantee to basic human dignity and respect for human life in its entirety. I have a dream that some day my IVF children and ALL other IVF children in the world will have equal rights and be recognized as a equal human being both in spirit and in practice.
Hit the REVERSE – Gender Bias
If an egg donor gives her egg to a gay couple to have a lovely child, and then later the gay couple gets divorced, will the courts demand the egg donor to pay child support?
If a woman (who is in an intersex marriage) uses her eggs, donated sperm and a surrogate to have IVF child, will she be able to claim child support from the sperm donor?
Is IVF for only women and should gays and spouses of intersex stay away from IVF? Should an IVF child be discriminated against based on their parent’s gender?
For far too long, children have been thought to ALWAYS have a “LEGAL MOTHER”. IVF presents some unique cases where there is “NO LEGAL MOTHER”. As a result, child support laws need to be updated so that inadvertently, gay couples, or sperm donors to lesbian couples, or spouse of intersex are NOT inadvertently DISCRIMINATED against.
As we move into the 21st century, let us have EQUAL laws for ALL regardless of your sexual orientation, gender, or your birth type in addition to the standard anti-discrimination language of the 20th century like race, religion, color, etc. If we are going to have laws in favor of minority like intersex who can neither donate eggs or sperm (and therefore dont have to worry about child support), then the spouse of intersex is a far smaller MINORITY within a MINORITY and his children are in greater need of help.
We are pro-EQUALITY for ALL.