Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Age - "Twins' lesbian mums lose compo case against IVF doctor" by AAP

The lesbian mothers of IVF twin girls have lost a legal bid to sue their doctor for the cost of raising one of the toddlers.

The women, whose names have been suppressed, sued prominent Canberra obstetrician Sydney Robert Armellin for more than $400,000 for implanting two embryos instead of the requested one.

The ACT Supreme Court today ruled in favour of Dr Armellin, and ordered the couple pay his legal costs.

The IVF procedure, which used sperm from a Danish donor, resulted in the birth of twin girls, now aged four.

The couple, whose combined income is more than $100,000, sought $398,000 from Dr Armellin to cover the costs of raising one of the girls, including fees for a private Steiner school in Melbourne.

The court was told the twins' birth mother had lost her capacity to love and the couple's relationship suffered as they became mired in everyday tasks associated with raising two children.

But Dr Armellin's lawyer said loss of freedom was experienced commonly by parents across Australia.

The couple said it was Dr Armellin's responsibility to ensure his patient's wishes were carried out during the operation at Canberra's John James Memorial Hospital on November 12, 2003.

Dr Armellin countered by saying the birth mother only told him she wanted one embryo minutes before she was sedated, after previously signing a form consenting for up to two embryos to be implanted.

The case, before Justice Annabelle Bennett, sparked nationwide condemnation of the women in the media.

The mothers issued a statement during the civil proceedings arguing the case had nothing to do with their feelings towards their daughters, but with Dr Armellin's failure to comply with their wishes.

"This has never been a case about whether our children are loved," they said in a handwritten statement.

"They are cherished."

The couple's solicitor Thena Kyprianou said her clients, who live in Melbourne, were shocked by the decision.

"They're disappointed,'' Ms Kyprianou told reporters.

"They said they are shocked and that they will consider their options further once they have an opportunity to read the judgment.''

Ms Kyprianou said the publicity surrounding the case had destroyed her clients' privacy.

Dr Armellin's barrister Kim Burke said her client was relieved but mindful the women have 28 days to decide whether to lodge an appeal.

[Link: Original Article]

No comments: