Same Sex Marriage Mediation

Will Liz or Leslie be their Prospective Baby’s Birth Mother?

Janet Miller Wiseman LICSW, Certified Family and Divorce Mediator

Liz and Leslie made a series of appointments for marriage mediation. They had been a couple for seven years and married for two of those years. They had decided that their careers, finances, and home were in comfortable places and stable enough to have their first child.  Both of them had wanted to have children since childhood. Their friend Greg had volunteered to be the biological father of the baby if he could be in the child’s life as “Uncle Greg”. Leslie and Liz were more than happy to expand their family by including Greg. They didn’t have a plan, as yet, about how they would introduce Greg to their child when she or he would be old enough to talk about “origens”.

The women were each 33 years old and both were eager to be the biological mother of the child. They agreed they would attempt to have two children and that each of them could be a birth mother. However, the question they brought to the mediation was “which of us gets to go first?”

Leslie maintained that she had been an only child and, unlike Liz, had never been able to participate as an older sibling taking care of babies and that she should have the opportunity to be the first biological mother. Liz maintained because she had plenty of experience taking care of siblings and doing a lot of babysitting, she has the most experience and could model, for Leslie, nursing, diaper changing, late-night care-taking of babies and all the rest. “We’ll both have the opportunity, but it’s clear to me that I should have our first child” , Leslie stated assertively. Leslie was hurt and resentful. She could clearly see Liz’ point of view, but she most definitely did not agree with it. Leslie was firm that she needed to be the first biological mother to the two children they planned to have.

Leslie leaned over and softly asked Liz to remember what it had been like for her in second grade when she cried and cried doing her homework, due to reversing letters and having a hard time reading. Liz had had dyslexia and, in addition, ran from room to room continuously and restlessly, a symptom of ADHD. Leslie said to Liz that they both knew these issues were genetic. If Liz’ eggs were used first, Leslie maintained there was a chance their baby girl or boy would have dyslexia and/or ADHD. Leslie maintained, that since their first child would be a learning experience for both of them, it would be much, much easier if the baby’s life was not complicated with those issues. Then, after settling in with their first child, they might decide to use her (Leslie’s) eggs implanted into Liz to again reduce the chances of dyslexia or  ADHD or if it was “do or die” with Liz, she could have IVF so that her genes would come through to their second child; Liz could then help with the initiation of the testing and proper diagnoses of any conditions their second child had since she knew the issues very well from having to contend with them as a child.

Liz, feeling very vulnerable, opened up with tears for how difficult it had been for her during her early years of schooling and agreed with Leslie that she should  go first in having their first child so that she, Liz, could  keep careful watch out for signs and symptoms of the hereditary conditions in their second child. That way they could get very early intervention if she or he were to inherit either dyslexia or ADHD. Liz, even started to think that maybe it might be wise to have Leslie’s eggs united with Greg’s sperm, and her to have an In Vitro Fertilization, lessening the chances of their second child having those particular hereditary issues.

The couple agreed that they would not expect ADHD or dyslexia, but simply keep a watchful eye out for signs and symptoms of the two conditions when it came time to have their second child if Leslie’s eggs were indeed used. Their excellent interaction here in marriage counseling/marriage mediation helped to cement an already good foundation of understanding, care, and compassion between the two of them.