The Mississippi Supreme Court will hear arguments to decide whether a judge got it right when he denied a divorced women’s request to be listed as a parent to a child conceived by her ex-wife through donated sperm.
The case involves two women, one of which, had a child using assisted reproduction technology during their same-sex marriage. When the couple split, the judge refused to recognize the non-birth mother as a parent stating that two women cannot conceive a child together and that the donor is, in fact, the natural father.
The attorney to the biological mother argues that the case is not an equal protection case or a presumption of marriage, but rather a question of whether a couple, same-sex or opposite, should terminate the parental rights of a donor or surrogate. The women left out of the parent equation says a waiver of rights should not be necessary because a donor is not, and does not want to be, a parent.
The case has generated interest across the country of course as same sex couples consider having children and the fact that many already have families. The case raises some interesting questions not only for same-sex couples but also for any couple that has used donated sperm or eggs to conceive a child:
~ Will married couples using assisted reproductive technology through an anonymous donor be entitled to the marital presumption that both spouses are legal parents?
~ Is an anonymous donor, who will likely never be known, a legal parent to a child born to a married woman or man? Will this prevent a spouse from being recognized as a parent?
~ Will precedent apply to same-sex couples which establishes parental rights of a spouse to a child born during a marriage, reared as their own in a parent-child relationship, when no putative father exists or is asserting parental rights?
The whole affair may rest on what is in the best interests of the child. Arguments in the case begin today with LGBT groups calling for the judge’s decision to be overturned, thereby recognizing the right of the non-biological spouse to be listed as a parent in yet another case where reproductive technology is in the mix.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, Same-Sex parental Rights Case Reaches Top Mississippi Court, by Jeff Amy, November 29, 2017.