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Archive for July, 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]

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Categories: IVF, Lesbian

ABC Online – "NSW in rights push for lesbian mums" by Dean Lewins

The New South Wales Government wants a federal law amended so children of lesbian couples can seek child support if their parents separate.

State Attorney-General John Hatzistergos says co-mothers are not recognised in Family Court proceedings under the current laws.

Mr Hatzistergos says he will ask the Federal Government to change the Family Law Act to include lesbian parents at a meeting of attorneys-general this week.

“It’s important that the laws be amended to ensure that these children are treated in the same way that children of heterosexual relationships are, so that in the event that the parents split up, there is an entitlement for that child to be able to seek child support from co-mothers,” he said.

“It’s important to recognise that these relationships exist and these children exist, whatever one might think about them.

“And bearing in mind those facts, it’s logical to ensure that we have a civilised way of ensuring the economic security of these children.”

The State Government last month expanded the rights of NSW children with lesbian parents, clearing the way for children from lesbian couples to inherit money from and receive workers’ compensation on behalf of their non-birth parent.

The reforms allowed both mothers to appear on their child’s birth certificate.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: IVF, Lesbian

MCV – "The fight for Fertility Rights" by Rachel Cook

Conservatives applaud MP’s free vote on lesbian and gay parenting.
New legislation regarding lesbians’ and single women’s access to assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy in Victoria will go to a Parliamentary conscience vote, it was announced this week.

If passed, the legislative changes (recommended by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in June 2007 and accepted by the government in December 2007) would greatly benefit lesbians, gay men and single women who wish to become parents.

Premier Brumby’s announcement of a conscience vote, which will allow ALP politicians opposed to the issue to vote accordingly, has been welcomed by conservative lobby group the Australian Family Association (AFA).

“It [the conscience vote] was by no means expected,” AFA national spokesperson Angela Conway told MCV. “I hoped they would but didn’t expect them to; so this is excellent recognition of the gravity of the issue [which is] a serious moral issue for many people in the community.”

Conway expressed her concern over “the growing number of people who are conceived using donor gametes who say they have been abused because of the separation from their natural parents. You hear the testimony of these young people and it’s about the ethical situation of same-sex parents bringing children into existence this way.”

Felicity Marlowe, spokesperson for Victoria’s Rainbow Families Council, told MCV that Conway was misrepresenting the situation.
“I’ve met a lot of people who were conceived through donor gametes before the law changed, so they had no access to information about the donors, but the laws have changed. Since 1988, donors have had to consent to providing personal information.”

Marlowe said that there have been five years of thorough consultation into these issues, and advocates are now waiting to see the final Bill and how voting pans out.

“We are remaining optimistic and positive for our families,” she said. “We are very confident that the best interests and rights of our children will win over other issues that might get in the way.”

Speculation that pressure from conservative Christian elements of the Labor Party was behind the call for a conscience vote was dismissed by the ALP member for Prahran, Tony Lupton.

“The Labor Party has had a long-standing policy when legislation involves matters concerning the start of life or death; we have a conscience vote,” he said, adding that he is happy with the progression of the Bill so far.

“I support the legislation very strongly, and in fact I think the legislation should and will pass the Parliament regardless; there’s every chance many members will vote for it,” Lupton concluded.

Victorian Opposition Leader, Ted Baillieu, is also expected to allow his party a free vote, depending on the Bill’s details.

However, some politicians remain fixed in their views.

National Party MP Peter Hall, who voted against the Relationships Bill 2007, which allows same-sex and de facto couples to formally register their relationships, told MCV that he would not be voting to allow the changes in ART and surrogacy legislation.

“I’ve never supported that concept before and I don’t expect I will change my mind.” Hall said.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: Felicity Marlowe

SX – "Rights groups push for state parenting reforms"by Adam Bub and Rachel Cook

The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby are calling for the New South Wales State Government to recognise same-sex families, after Premier Morris Iemma announced last week that his government would amend the Adoption Act to help foster carers, step-parents and other relatives adopt a child in their care.

Emily Gray, GLRL co-convenor, said that the government has shown no intention yet to extend these rights to same-sex parents. “It is an absurd state of affairs …when individual lesbians and gay men are eligible for adoption, but same-sex couples are not,” Gray said, in a statement.

Meanwhile, in Victoria, Premier John Brumby announced a conscience vote on state legislation regarding lesbians’ and single women’s access to artificial reproduction technology (ART) and surrogacy. Recommended by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in June 2007 and accepted by the government in December 2007, the legislation would allow lesbians and gay men greater access to having children.

Felicity Marlowe, spokes-person for Victoria’s Rainbow Families Council, told SX that “we are very confident that the best interests and rights of our children will win over other issues that might get in the way.”

But some politicians have already vetoed the idea. Peter Hall, Nationals MP, told SX: “I’ve never supported that concept before and I don’t expect I will change my mind.”

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: Adoption, Felicity Marlowe

Jacky & Ethan with Ice Cream

Categories: Ethan Chiang-Cruise

ABC Online – "No adoption rights for same-sex couples: Bligh"

Ms Bligh says only about 20 babies are now put up for adoption each year in Queensland.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says same-sex couples will not be allowed to adopt children under proposed new laws.

State Cabinet yesterday approved several changes, including allowing de facto couples in long-term relationships to adopt.

The Government has also released a discussion paper on whether to give children and ‘birth parents’ involved in pre-1991 adoptions more access to information about each other.

Ms Bligh says only about 20 babies are now put up for adoption each year in Queensland.

“In an environment when you have such a small number of babies and such a large number of couples seeking to adopt, the onus is on the state to make a judgement about the best possible placement for a child and the prospect of that being anything other than couples as I have described, we think is very low,” she said.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: Adoption, gay, Lesbian

Herald Sun – "MPs also choose on gays’ fertility rights" by John Ferguson

STATE Cabinet has backed a vote among Labor MPs on legislation covering fertility treatment access for gays and single women.

Premier John Brumby has told the MPs they will have a free vote on assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy.

The Government is drafting legislation to better enable gay couples and single women to have children and expects it to be tabled this year.

Last week’s decision to allow a conscience vote will appease concerns raised by Catholic MPs uncertain about the broadening of treatment, including IVF.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu is also set to allow his MPs a free vote, though this depends on the Bill’s detail.

Mr Brumby has previously supported a conscience vote on abortion reforms being backed by the Government, making the last half of the year a potentially divisive environment in the State Parliament.

The Premier told MPs the ART issue was complex and the sort of subject on which MPs could determine their position on the basis of their own conscience.

Attorney-General Rob Hulls announced plans to reform ART legislation just before Christmas.

Mr Hulls said that the changes would bring Victoria into line with other states and “better reflect the reality of modern families”.

“The reality is that many Victorian children are already born to same-sex couples and to single women and yet those children don’t enjoy the same legal protections as others,” Mr Hulls said in December.

The changes are set to be based on the recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Under those proposed changes:

GAYS would not be forced to travel interstate for treatment to become pregnant.

A PANEL would be set up to screen people seeking the treatment in a clinic if convicted of a sexual offence.

SURROGACY arrangements would be changed to make it easier for surrogate mothers to receive treatment.

THE ban on commercial surrogacy would continue.

THE mother’s female partner would be recognised as a parent of the child who was conceived using treatment.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: gay, IVF, Lesbian, surrogacy