Monday, April 23, 2012
From the Guardian:
When Patricia Moreno was pregnant with her first child, she went through the usual existential doubts about how life as a new mother would be. Moreno, a life coach and fitness trainer from New York, had been trying to get pregnant for well over a year. She had been through multiple rounds of IVF and suffered a miscarriage. When she did get pregnant, in December 2009, she and her partner, Kellen Mori, were over the moon, and then they started thinking.
The couple's marriage was not valid outside the US or in many of the more conservative states; the baby, conceived by IVF using Mori's eggs and donor sperm, would not be recognised federally as belonging to both of them. (Moreno, giving birth, would be recognised as the biological mother. Mori, who had provided the eggs, would have no automatic universal rights.) "I'm not the mum, but I am the mum," thought Moreno and wondered idly who the baby would identify with more. As well as a good obstetrician, she and her wife of three years would be needing a lawyer.
The two women faced a version of a problem that affects growing numbers of people. As the technology to create life outpaces the law's ability to provide for it, couples are having children whose legal status is, depending on where they are in the world, terrifyingly open to interpretation. By necessity, most of them are same-sex couples, although heterosexual couples in surrogacy arrangements can face similar problems: the failure of one jurisdiction to recognise the legitimacy of a birth certificate issued by another. As is permitted in New York, Moreno and Mori were both named on their daughter's birth certificate, but when they travelled, there was no guarantee that Mori, the "non-birth mother", would have any rights. She is the child's genetic parent but, on the advice of lawyers, was obliged to adopt her own daughter after Moreno gave birth.
Read more here.