A Sydney couple will have to apply to the New South Wales Supreme Court in Australia for permission to adopt their own son, after the Family Court found that, in the eyes of the law, he was not theirs.
The case involved a couple, known in court documents only as Sharon and Paul, who were unable to conceive because Sharon had been treated for cervical cancer, the Australian reports. Before having treatment that rendered her infertile, Sharon had her eggs harvested and stored. One of these eggs was later mixed with Paul's sperm, creating an embryo.
Sharon's mother, Lauren, offered to carry the embryo for her daughter as a surrogate. The child, known as Michael, was born in October 2008.
Immediately after birth, Lauren handed the baby to Sharon and Paul, and they've been raising him ever since. The couple listed Paul as the father on the birth certificate, since he provided the sperm, while Lauren (his grandmother) had to be listed as the mother, since she gave birth.
Sharon and Paul went to court in April to see if Sharon could formally adopt Michael.
To the family's surprise, the judge ruled on August 3 that not only was Sharon not the mother, but Paul wasn't the father.
Under Section 60 (H) of the Family Law Act, couples who undergo artificial conception, using donated sperm or eggs are the legal parents of the children they conceive, regardless of whether they use their own sperm and eggs.
A wife who undergoes assisted conception is the mother, even if it isn't her egg, and her husband is the father, even if it isn't his sperm.
Because of this, Sharon's mother Lauren would be the legal parent of the child, rather than Paul and Sharon.