Former Lesbian Couple Fight for Parental Rights in Egg Donor Case

On October 2, 2012 a child custody case was brought before the Florida Supreme Court. The judge overseeing the case listened to arguments over a child custody dispute between two lesbians that were formally from Brevard County. Lawyers on both sides said that the outcome of the case was unlikely to affect other couples, whether they were gay or straight.

The judge brought up the possibility of having to return the case to trial court in order to resolve an issue over a consent form. The consent form was signed by one of the partners, the genetic mother, who had donated her egg to be fertilized and implanted in her partner. Her partner gave birth in 2004.

The two women were involved in a relationship for 11 years; however, they broke up two years after the birth of their child. Their custody case has been in court since 2008.

At the time the woman gave her egg, she was a 34-year-old member of law enforcement. She sought parental rights, yet she was denied by a judge in Brevard Circuit Court. Instead of granting the genetic mother custody, the court granted custody to the woman who actually gave birth to the child, referring to a state law that says that egg donors relinquish their parental rights.

The case went before an appellate court which later ruled that both mothers should have parental rights due to the fact that the genetic mother wasn't an "egg donor" as was contemplated by the law.

Currently, a number of the laws pertaining to domestic partnerships and child custody are still in the developmental stages and are constantly changing. While the state of California embraces same sex couples, there are still a number of inequities and shades of gray when it comes to domestic partnerships, as well as issues when such couples go their separate ways.

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