Friday, November 07, 2014

Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother?
A would-be mother froze her egg.

The egg was defrosted and fertilized in a lab and implanted in another woman who had a womb available.

"Uh, oh," said the would-be mother. "My baby will be here and who is going to be listed on the birth certificate as the mother?"

"I must consult with legal authorities," she said. "I will be back!"

So away she went.

The baby grew. It grew, and grew, and grew for nine months.

Out came the baby.

"Which one of you is the mother?" the bureaucrat asked. He looked at the would-be mother. He looked at the woman who had given birth. He looked up. He could not tell which one should be listed on the official form. He looked down. He could not leave the space blank.

"I will go to a higher authority to determine who is the mother," he said. So away he went.

Down, out of the hospital he went. Down, down, down to the court. It was a long way down!

The court said that the mother was the woman who shared a genetic link with the baby. The woman who provided the egg was the mother.

"Now I will go tell the mother," he said.

"You are not the mother," the Irish State said. "Our Constitution is very clear. The mother is the woman who gave birth."

"It's my feckin' egg," the would-be mother said. "The other woman is a surrogate who let me use her womb since mine is out of order."

"What about women who receive donated eggs?" the State asked. "That's quite a disaster you're after making here with all this trouble you're causing. We can't have egg donors being listed as mothers when they never intended to be mothers. Let's ask the Supreme Court because they are the experts on the Constitution."

"The Constitution is indeed quite clear," the Irish Supreme Court said. "A mother is a woman who gives birth. Therefore, the surrogate is to be listed on the birth certificate as the mother."

And then Mrs. Justice Susan Denham stated the obvious. The Constitution is out of date when it comes to modern medicine. When it was written, there was no artificial insemination or egg freezing or surrogate mothers except what might have been done behind closed doors.

When the Irish Constitution was written, women were being locked up in slave labor facilities if they had sex outside of marriage. Any sort of sexually-tainted funny business was not going to be allowed. The definition of motherhood was intended to erase any and all immorality, as determined by the local parish priest. But times have changed and Ireland is trying to fit into the modern world.

The law is the law until new legislation is written. The would-be mother is not the mother on the birth certificate. The definition of motherhood is going to have to be redefined but the Court cannot do that.

The would-be mother will just have to wait for the wheels of State government to grind out a new law so she can be the mother.

So when the mother asks, "Do you know who I am?", her baby can say, "You are my mother."

Even if the courts say it's some other woman who was generous enough to help out another in need and never thought she'd be dragged into a legal tangle because legislation can't keep pace with the society it's supposed to be legislating.

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