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Lesbians sue doctor over birth of twins

Discussion in 'News & Events' started by Ree, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. Ree

    Ree Well-Known Member

    An IVF doctor swore in horror after he mistakenly implanted two embryos into a woman who only wanted one baby, a Canberra court was told during a landmark case.

    In the first case of its kind in Australia, a lesbian couple is suing prominent Canberra obstetrician Dr Sydney Robert Armellin for more than $400,000 in the ACT Supreme Court for implanting two embryos instead of the requested one.

    The procedure, which used sperm from a Danish donor, resulted in the birth of twin baby girls, who are now aged three.

    Their mothers, whose combined income is almost $120,000, want $398,000 to cover the costs of raising one of the girls, including fees for a private Steiner school in Melbourne.

    They also are seeking around $15,000 to compensate them for time off work, plus an additional amount for medical expenses.

    Minutes before the procedure at the John James Medical Memorial Hospital in Deakin on November 13, 2003, the birth mother told Dr Armellin she only wanted one embryo implanted.

    Dr Armellin said he warned the woman she could still have multiple pregnancies if the embryo spilt and she replied, "Do not even joke about it, I only want one," according to her barrister Hugh Marshall SC.

    The obstetrician did not tell the embryologist of the woman's wishes before the procedure began.

    Dr Armellin told the court he only realised two embryos had been inserted moments after the embryologist had sent them down the catheter.

    "I said I understand she only wanted one embryo ... the embryologist said no, there are two, she signed for two.

    "(I said) oh f***."

    Dr Armellin agreed it was a mistake to implant two embryos instead of one.

    He said the usual practice of the embryologist talking to a patient before a procedure did not occur because the woman was under general anaesthetic.

    "Yes, it was an incorrect procedure, I acknowledge that," Dr Armellin said.

    The birth mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the court she suffered nausea during her pregnancy and in the latter stages could only move around with a walking stick.

    She said she and her partner briefly considered adopting out one of the girls but quickly dismissed the idea as absurd.

    "You thought: `Which one am I not meant to have'?" Dr Armellin's barrister Kim Burke asked.

    "Yes, I did," the woman replied.

    She said adopting out one child would be unfair to both girls.

    "The primary consideration was that adoption shifted the burden of responsibility for this situation onto the children," she said tearfully.

    "The burden is not the children's to bear.

    "The burden is ours alone."

    The woman said she had enjoyed some aspects of the pregnancy, such as decorating the girls' nursery, but other parts were distressing, including purchasing a pram.

    "It was like the last frontier of acceptance to spend hundreds of dollars on a pram," she said.

    Dr Armellin remains a practising obstetrician and gynaecologist at his private surgery in Deakin and does consulting work for several Canberra hospitals.

    Justice Annabelle Bennett is expected to hear evidence from the birth mother's partner on Wednesday.

    She granted an application from Mr Marshall to ban publication of the names of both mothers and their twins, saying the information could not only harm the girls now but also when they were older.

  2. Osiris7790

    Osiris7790 Well-Known Member

    lmao. now ive seen everything.