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Black twins for white parents (Read 910 times)


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Black twins for white parents
Jul 8th, 2002 at 8:17am
AP - A white couple have had black twins after a mix-up at a fertility clinic.

The white parents were stunned when the babies were born but want to keep the children and now face a legal challenge from a black couple who were also being treated at the clinic.

Health officials are today investigating how such a mistake could have happened.
The mix-up could lead to a test case over who should be regarded as the twins' real parents. A source at the NHS Trust at the centre of the blunder said: "Apart from being a tragedy for the parents involved, it is a major embarrassment for the health service. It must be a one in a million chance. The problem now is: Who are the real parents of the twins? It is something we have dreaded happening all along. It is an absolute nightmare for all concerned."

The white couple had attended the fertility clinic after trying for years without success. They chose to go for IVF, a procedure used by 27,000 couples a year in Britain. Although treatment is sometimes available on the NHS most couples pay about 3,000 a time at private clinics.

During the procedure eggs are removed from the woman and mixed in a laboratory with her partner's sperm. When an embryo develops it is inserted into the woman's womb.

The white couple have been told the mistake may have happened in the following ways: An embryo produced from the black couple's sperm and eggs could have been wrongly inserted into the white woman's womb or the black man's sperm could have been used by mistake to impregnate the white woman's eggs.

Neither couple, nor the babies or the NHS Trust involved, can be identified because of legal reasons.

The NHS trust source told the Sun newspaper: "Great steps have been taken to ensure this sort of thing never happens. A lot of wrangling is going on and if it goes to court it could become a test case.

"But even though the twins are black the mother wants to keep them. She feels that she has bonded with them because of the time they were inside her body.

"But obviously it is causing deep embarrassment to the parents as well. If people didn't know the background they might wrongly assume the woman had had an affair with a black man." A senior legal expert said: "In the end the matter may have to go to the courts to decide what happens next. If it is the sperm of a black man which has been mixed with the white woman's eggs he could claim to be the biological father."

If the sperm of the black man and the egg of his wife were used they could both claim to be the biological parents. "There is also the possibility the parents might sue for damages," said the expert.

In 1998 white New Yorker Donna Fasano, 40, gave birth to a black baby, Akiel, following a suspected embryo mix-up. A judge ruled she had to hand over the child to his biological parents, a black couple from New Jersey.

In 1993 Dutch woman Wilma Stuart, 40, gave birth to twins. It took a year before DNA tests proved a mistake had taken place.

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