Canberra IVF doctor sued for “wrongful birth”

GnT 20 September 2007 153

In an unprecedented case, a lesbian couple are suing a Canberra obstetrician for implanting two embryos during an IVF procedure when they only wanted one baby. Details are here. In a nutshell, they signed a form authorising the implantation of up to two embyos, yet verbally told the doctor they only wanted one. They are suing for the cost of raising the extra child, and have also outlined all the extra pain and suffering they have gone through.

I hope the poor kids never find out how much they weren’t wanted. Some people struggle to have just one child, and some people fall pregnant with twins naturally – they never plan the extra burden, yet have no-one to sue. Not to mention there is a certain amount of pain and suffering and associated with any pregnancy, regardless of how many babies you’re carrying.

This case is a poor reflection of our increasingly litigious society.

[Ed. The Australian has some further coverage of the case. -thanks darylk for the heads up]

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153 Responses to Canberra IVF doctor sued for “wrongful birth”
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sepi sepi 9:01 pm 21 Sep 07

These pair only want to get donations, not give them.

I-filed I-filed 8:41 pm 21 Sep 07

er wait a second there greedy dames – you would have had to buy a pram in any case. The only way these vile women can redeem themselves now is by donating the ENTIRE sum of compensation or settlement to Bangladeshi slum families.

Thumper Thumper 4:00 pm 21 Sep 07

All the best then kiddo 🙂

unbelievable unbelievable 3:34 pm 21 Sep 07

thanks Thumper

Just a few more things.

I was 38 when I got pregnant after years of abuse from my ex-partner.

I have one ovary.

The baby’s father gives me $3.06 a week child support (claims to have a disability – injured back – rubbish).

I was assaulted several times during the pregnancy and thrown down the stairs.

I left my job because my boss wouldn’t let me work more flexible hours even when I was 8 months pregnant.

The baby’s father cleaned out my bank account.


I am happier than ever before, living on $400 nett a week, paying my bills, no drug habit, no drinking, smoking or gambling habit and own everything I have.

My daughter and I are doing beautifully!!!!

The word “litigation” never crossed my mind although I had plenty of opportunity.

These lesbian women should be ashamed of themselves. Would they like to try living on $24,000 per annum?

I hope they lose!

All power to Dr Armellin!

Thumper Thumper 2:08 pm 21 Sep 07


Puts it all in perspective I reckon…

Well said

unbelievable unbelievable 1:56 pm 21 Sep 07

This has probably already been said in the above 147 comments, but the lesbians comment about the cost of the pram really shocked me.

As a single mum on $24,000 per annum, I got my $3000 baby bonus 2 years ago (its now $4000), and I bought everything I needed for my beautiful baby girl.

What did these two lesbians do with their $6000 three years ago?

AND, surely a combined income of $120,000 can buy a bloody pram even if it is hundreds of dollars!

This case makes me sick to the stomach.

I wouldn’t ever consider suing God for allowing me to become pregnant with only one ovary, given I was told I only had 4% chance of conceiving.

Where do we draw the line.

I feel sorry for the little children who are growing up with two mums without any morals.


Pram too expensive? Pffffft.

Thumper Thumper 8:05 am 21 Sep 07

To release a media release hints of damage control Simbo.

As in, ‘oh the general public is against us, not so much our sexual orientation, but the fact that we appear to wanting money for something most people in the world live with and are happy with.’

I still say selfish, selfish people.

simbo simbo 12:04 am 21 Sep 07

FYI: Here is the Media Release Issued by “Lesbian Pair” earlier today – as posted on ACTQueer:

“To Dr Armellin’s credit he has acknowledged his mistake from the beginning of this process. We trust he has implemented changes in his practice to ensure no one else is subject to a procedure without their consent.

As strongly as we believe it is a woman’s right to choose to adopt out their child or to terminate their pregnancy it is equally a woman’s right to not do either of these things, and nor should she be called on to do so.

This case and some of the reaction to it exposes the belief in sectors of society, including the gay and lesbian community, that minority groups should be grateful for equal rights. If gratitude is a condition of these rights, then they are not full and genuinely equal.

This has never been a case about whether our children are loved. They are cherished. It is a case about the duty of care doctors owe their patients in any medical procedure, and a patient’s right only to be subject to the procedure they consented to.

Pursuing our convictions has resulted in a massive intrusion into our privacy and our most private deliberations. It has not been an easy decision
to take our case this far, and the risks to our children’s privacy remain very real.

We thank our friends and our families for their messages of support as news of this week has spread. We thank our legal team for their sound advice and skilled representation.”

Now, it should be pointed out that ACTQueer has also had a fair few people saying “these people endanger our rights in one of the few places, and with one of the few doctors, who is willing to do this kind of procedure for us”. So, no, there isn’t a united face on this.

But if we’re going to go “Stacks on”, as Riotact all too often does, on this one, then it’s only fair they get their voices in too.

Vic Bitterman Vic Bitterman 10:21 pm 20 Sep 07

Well said barking toad…. you speak totally for me too.

Pandy Pandy 10:20 pm 20 Sep 07

Hot chick? Maybe VY got to her then?

I-filed I-filed 8:50 pm 20 Sep 07

So which child of the two is the unwanted one?

Truly, these high-income, self-centred women are a disgrace. They should have handed one of the babies over upon birth.
And since when is it unusual for a relationship to be tested by the arrival of an unexpected child?
The judge will find a deft way to give them a box around the ears – like 10c compensation, and tell them to put themselves in the shoes of the infertile, the poor or the hungry for the one second it should take to figure.
I hope Today Tonight get hold of them and give them the same treatment they meted out to Bec Cartright!

nyssa76 nyssa76 7:12 pm 20 Sep 07

I’m sorry but wasn’t IVF started to assist hetero couples to have children when it ‘naturally’ wouldn’t occur?

When did it become a free for all?

In the car, on the way home, I heard that the ‘mother’ was also liable for the situation she has found herself in.

Still, I don’t agree with paying out money to them just so they can put a child they didn’t want in a Steiner School.

sepi sepi 6:14 pm 20 Sep 07

Sadly their court case has publicised lesbian access to ivf, and predictably people have come out against it. A liberal senator has now called for a ban on ifv for lesbian couples.

This couple really should have thought twice before launching into this court case I think.

barking toad barking toad 5:54 pm 20 Sep 07

FFS GnT, it’s not a matter of homophobia.

As Maelinar succintly described it, two females can’t have children. Nor can two males.

The animal kingdom has species that display gay tendencies but you don’t see them reproducing. Because they can’t.

These lifestyle decisions by gays to acquire a fashion accessory to impress their friends should be barred.

There are three issues here.

1. The morally incorrect decision to allow lesbians to have children – sterilisation sounds good to me;
2. The fact that they now decide it’s too hard to actually raise them because it disrupts their life; and,
3. Their disgusting attempt to rort the legal system to get the rest of society to fund their decision that it’s now too hard.

It’s a tragedy they were allowed access to a procedure that enabled them to bring two healthy children into the world only to reject at least one. You can bet the other one will get the flick too.

sepi sepi 3:16 pm 20 Sep 07

The one refreshing thing about this case is that neither side is lying or saying ‘I can’t recall’.

The dr has fully admitted that he understood on the day that they had changed their minds to one embryo, but that he forgot to tell the person doing the transfer.

And the couple admit having originally signed for two (well they have to – it’s on paper, but anyway.)

So the facts are pretty clear – it is just up to the court to decide how much the couple contributed to the mistake by changing their minds, and how much the dr’s momentary lapse is worth in compensation – if any.

Thumper Thumper 3:13 pm 20 Sep 07


I couldn’t care less if they were a hetero couple in the same situation.

Maelinar Maelinar 3:10 pm 20 Sep 07

Actually, it does have bearing on this case.

Bring on your trailer trash analogies, but the male-female relationship pattern has been formed out of several thousand years of evolution. This evolution has the ability to produce offspring.

The female-female relationship does not have the ability to produce offspring, and is therefore being medically induced. I am yet to hear of an instance of a les-les-les granddaughter but it is medically possible, yet this is only 3 generations old !

So here you are on your soapbox, defending a genetically untested process, as the problems are unfolding – by kindly requesting we ‘cease the homophobia’ ?

You don’t think that this could be a problem when trying to lord it over several thousand years of evolution ?

Anyway, there’s no playing trains when all you have is 2 tunnels. Similarly, there’s no playing trains when you have too many plugs and not enough tunnels.

GnT GnT 2:31 pm 20 Sep 07

Look guys, their sexuality has no bearing on this case, either legally or ethically. Can we please cease the homophobia?

barking toad barking toad 2:04 pm 20 Sep 07

They consented to the transfer of two embryos but later on had a change of mind (or the mummy did) but this wasn’t apparently properly communicated to the staff. It appears Armellin may not have been a director of the clinic but a consultant and this will further cloud the issue of them rorting money through legal proceedings.

The Canberra Age reported their current combined income as $160,000, an increase of previous reports. The poor little butches.

The sooner these wastes of space are thrown out of court and f@ck off out of the country with their children adopted by a normal family the better.

And IVF clinics should bar dykes.

sepi sepi 1:38 pm 20 Sep 07

It’s not a rumour, it is a fact that they originally signed a document saying two embryos, then on the day changed their mind to one.

This contributed to teh confusion, which saw the dr do the wrong thing – so they are partly responsible.

It also puts paid to their claim that they never ever wanted two children, and to get two has ruined their lives. At the point they signed the piece of paper they thought they could cope with two.

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