Mother forced daughter, 14, into sperm insemination - UK court

LONDON Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:27pm BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - A mother who persuaded her adopted teenage daughter to become pregnant by artificial insemination because she wanted a baby for herself has been jailed for five years in Britain, in a case that raises concern over how easily donor sperm can be obtained.

Previously secret court documents showed that the daughter, a virgin, was made to inseminate herself alone in her bedroom seven times over a two-year period starting in 2008 when she was 14, using syringes of semen bought online by the mother from sperm bank Cryos in Denmark.

She eventually became pregnant at 16 and gave birth at 17. The extraordinary circumstances of her pregnancy came to light after midwives became suspicious of the mother because she was trying to prevent her daughter from bonding with the new baby.

"We don't want any of that attachment thing," the mother said when a midwife suggested that the girl might want to breastfeed. After several such incidents the midwives alerted social services and police got involved in July 2011.

In a ruling made in March 2012 but only published now after the conclusion of the mother's criminal trial, High Court Judge Peter Jackson described "an abiding sense of disbelief that a parent could behave in such a wicked and selfish way towards a vulnerable child".

The judge also raised questions about the international trade in donor sperm, noting that "there were no effective checks on a person's ability to obtain sperm from Cryos".

There is no law in Britain to stop someone from buying donor sperm on the Internet and using it at home without supervision.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said it was "shocked and appalled by this dreadful case" and would be discussing with the Department of Health the issues raised relating to the donation of sperm.

Described in the judgment as having "an exceptionally forceful personality", the mother wanted to be the sole influence in the lives of her daughters, whom she schooled at home behind drawn curtains and kept isolated from the world.

The mother, who was imprisoned for child cruelty, had three adopted daughters but desperately wanted a fourth and was distraught when authorities told her in 2007 that she would not receive approval for a further adoption.

Instead, she persuaded the eldest of her three daughters to embark on a programme of artificial insemination to provide her with a baby to raise as her own.

The mother wanted the child to be a girl and made her daughter use acid douches containing vinegar or lemon juice in the belief that this would influence an unborn child's gender.

The daughter said she allowed her body to be used by her mother because she loved her. In a Mother's Day card written in 2009, the daughter pasted a photo of a positive pregnancy test and promised that she would give her mother that.

Cryos declined to comment on the case or on its procedures. In a section on home insemination, the sperm bank's website says: "In EU the goods can freely be moved from country to country, however, Cryos cannot know the rules in all countries so the recipient is responsible for the legality of imports."

(editing by Mike Collett-White)

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Comments (1)
raykyogrou0 wrote:
This story is really vague and has so many holes it.

For starters, the title says “forced”, while in the article it says “persuaded”. Which one is it? It makes a hell of a lot of difference.

Second, why was she refused a fourth adoption? Is it UK law, that people are limited to adopting 3 children? I suppose they didn’t refuse her because she was deemed an unfit mother. Or maybe it was ruled that she can’t afford to take care of another child. And I don’t think that the government determines the amount of children in a family. (Although I personally think 4 is a bit much) But we’ll never know why, since the reason was never mentioned. Also, I’m assuming she’s married because usually adoption agencies only let couples adopt, but there’s no mention of a spouse.

Third, the “midwife got suspicious”? Really now, I mean it is not quite uncommon for the grandmother of the child of a teenage mother to raise the child. Did they get a court order to force a maternity test? Was there a confession by the mother or daughter? We’ll never know.

Fourth, why was this case deemed as child cruelty? (Which also brings me back to point one) I mean, provided she wasn’t forced (and I’m doubting that right now), I suppose there is some law against inseminating underage girls (willingly) at clinics, and correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think that this could be defined as child cruelty unless she really was forced. Usually teenage pregnancies are frowned upon because of the irresponsibility, underage sex, etc. etc. But in this case no sex was involved and I think that the daughter willingly did it. In this case, she would just be acting as a surrogate mother.

People can really form a solid opinion when “forced” and “persuaded” are used interchangeably.

Apr 30, 2013 5:10pm BST  --  Report as abuse
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