A lesbian couple in Australia have taken the first "wrongful birth" lawsuit in Australian legislative history to court. The two women, who have three year old twin daughters, are suing Canberra obstetrician, Robert Armellin, for "wrongful birth" after he supervised the implantation of two embryos instead of one into the birth mother during the in vitro fertilization procedure.
The women, who cannot be named because of a court order, are suing the doctor for almost $400,000 (USD) which they contest will be the cost of raising the mistakenly implanted second child. The sum includes funds for private school, medical expenses and lost wages for the women.
According to the Australian newspaper, the PerthNow, the mother claimed that certain aspects of pregnancy were extremely stressful to her — for instance, buying a stroller — due to the fact that she was carrying twins. "It was like the last frontier of acceptance to spend hundreds of dollars on a pram." The mother also lamented that she suffered nausea during the pregnancy.
The mother's partner claimed in court that the couple became so overwhelmed with every day childcare issues that they lost their ability to function as a couple.
Under questioning from Armellin's lawyer, the mother admitted that the couple initially thought of keeping one of the children and putting the other up for adoption but decided that to do so would be unfair to both children. "The primary consideration was that adoption shifted the burden of responsibility for this situation onto the children. The burden is not the children's to bear. The burden is ours alone."
The obstetrician has, from the very beginning of the lawsuit, acknowledged that a mistake was made in implanting two embryos though sources differ as to whether the mother changed her mind at the very last moment before the surgery making the confusion more probable.