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Friday, September 21, 2007

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Possibly interesting: On my local parenting e-mail list, this case was mentioned, but nobody has ever mentioned anything about the couple being lesbians. It led to a really interesting discussion of medical malpractice and IVF and when exactly life starts and is it okay to throw away unused embryos. For whatever that's worth.

This case got me thinking about the weird way the law requires arguments to be made about money and compensation--money is the only way to settle damages in a case like this. It is a straightforward case in terms of the doctor's/clinic's mistake, but I wonder about the narratives that the children themselves will lay on top of the lawsuit when they are older (which is, of course, something the parents will doubtless influence). It would be easy for the children to turn it into a lawsuit about being not wanted (even though that is clearly not what the parents are saying). But the law leaves no other way to frame the issues.

Susan - For whatever it's worth... the identities of the couple and their children are being kept secret from the press so that the kids will grow up protected from knowing about the lawsuit. (Though the amount of detail that has been published about the couple makes it seem to me that it would be hard for them to truly keep their identities secret.) I normally don't believe in keeping secrets from children, but in this one case I hope it works and the children never do find out about this case. I feel so bad for those little girls if they grow up knowing how badly *un*wanted one of them was.

Susan, you said, "It would be easy for the children to turn it into a lawsuit about being not wanted (even though that is clearly not what the parents are saying)." I'm curious about that. It seems to me that one of the girls was not wanted, and that is *exactly* what the parents are saying. So I am curious about what you meant when you said that that is not what the parents were saying.

I clicked through to the news report Suz linked to in the post here, which says,
********

"The mothers, whose names are suppressed, said the case had nothing to do with their feelings towards their daughters but 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."

*********
So it looks like the mothers are quite explicitly saying that they love their kids, both their kids, and are simply trying to get the doctor to make restitution for the mistake. It just seems like family secrets are a tricky thing.

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