07 May 2013
ByAppeared in BioNews 703
A woman in the UK has been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of forcing her adopted teenage daughter to artificially inseminate herself.
The mother admitted child cruelty after the court heard how she had intended for her 14-year-old daughter to become pregnant using semen purchased online and to raise the baby as her own.
Family division judge, Mr Justice Jackson, described 'an abiding sense of disbelief that a parent could behave in such a wicked and selfish way towards a vulnerable child'. Over two years the daughter had to inseminate herself seven times, 'alone in her bedroom, using syringes of semen and douches prepared by the mother', in a 'degrading, humiliating and, on occasions, painful' process.
The mother was unable to bear children herself as she had chosen to be sterilized for fear of passing on her diabetes, the Daily Mail reports. She had adopted three girls from overseas, but when she was denied approval for a fourth, she turned to her daughter.
The victim, who is now 19 years old and living in a foster home with her son, said that if she obeyed her mother’s commands, she believed that 'maybe she will love me more'.
The mother was described as 'educated and highly articulate' and had home-schooled her children, isolating them from the outside world. She was determined that the baby should be a girl, so prepared vinegar douches and a special alkaline diet for her daughter in the belief it would influence the gender of the child, and gave the teenager recordings containing messages saying: 'I am going to conceive a girl'.
The daughter, identified only as A, eventually became pregnant and gave birth to a son in June 2011. However, at the birth, midwives raised the alarm that the 'pushy and insensitive' mother was trying to prevent her daughter from breastfeeding the newborn, stating: 'we don’t want any of that attachment thing'. Noticing the daughter's reluctance to hand over her baby, they called in child protection workers when the mother tried to take the baby away from the ward.
The case has raised serious questions over loopholes in the regulation of global traffic of gametes.
In a statement, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) stated that it was 'shocked and appalled by this dreadful case'. It added: 'We will of course be discussing the judgement result with the Department of Health, identifying any implications raised, including matters relating to the donation of sperm'.