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Still Her Baby

The miracle of science brought forth the most cherished blessing of her life: a child. Early in her marriage a doctor sat her down and explained that while a full term pregnancy wasn’t “impossible,” it was medically implausible and risky. Stumped and staggered, having a child was a topic un-broached in their household.

But silently the wife yearned and hoped. And with that, the wife researched and saved.

In vitro fertilization was the answer to the wife’s prayers. But in and of itself that could not give the wife the family she had waited for. And so a generous friend offered to help. And so they agreed, together, the generous friend would carry the child for her.

But, it would still be the wife’s baby.

At the clinic she signed some papers. And at the clinic they did some procedures. It was cold, medical, impersonal, yet somehow momentous and hopeful.

Nine months later, a baby boy was born. The wife stood by crying silently, waiting for the nurse to hand over her son. And yet, the generous friend was given that first moment by automatic procedure of the medical team. It was the wife’s generous friend who beckoned her forward and passed on the little bundle of her son into the wife’s arms. She was blessed to hold her baby.

For the next few hours, the wife sat in the corner cooing and smiling at the newest love of her life. More documents were passed around and signed, instructions and bills. The wife suddenly noticed, her name is not on any of the paper. She is not listed as “Mother.” Her son didn’t have her last name. In that moment, her blood ran cold. The nurse attempted to pick her son up and pass him to the tired and generous friend.

Did the wife lose her son on the very same day he was born? He was still her baby. Why didn’t everyone else in the hospital see that he was still her baby.

Luckily, all hope was not lost. The wife found an attorney to remedy the oversight. More documents were passed around, but the result was as it should be. The wife was now a mother, in reality and legally.

ART – Assisted Reproductive Technology is still new and foreign in the eyes of the law. In Georgia, the risk of being denied legal motherhood simply because of a lack of paperwork is just as great as the converse of the risk of being considered a gestational carrier for insufficient paperwork. The legal documents, contracts, and orders must be just as precise the science that helps hundred of thousands of people become parents. If you are considering the use of any reproductive technology to grow your family, speak to a family law attorney knowledgeable on how to protect and achieve that relationship. Make sure that relationship can last a lifetime.

– Jess Lill

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