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US surrogate sues agency over taking genetic son

28 August 2018
Appeared in BioNews 964

A US woman who gave birth to her own child while acting as a surrogate for another couple is reportedly suing the surrogacy agency involved for damages.  

Jessica Allen gave birth to what she believed were twins following a surrogacy arrangement with a Chinese couple in 2016 (reported in BioNews 925). The couple initially took custody of both children but suspicions over their parentage were raised when the children appeared visibly different. 

DNA tests showed that one of the children was not genetically related to the Chinese couple, who had provided their own embryo. It is believed that Allen conceived with her own partner during the surrogacy arrangement in a rare case of superfetation – the simultaneous occurrence of a second conception during pregnancy. The child was handed over to Allen in February the following year.   

The Mail Online reports that Allen is now suing the surrogacy agency, Omega Family Global, for 'wrongfully conspiring to abduct' her child and acting with 'oppressive, fraudulent or malicious intent'.

Court documents obtained by the newspaper outline allegations that a representative for Omega Family Global requested that Allen pay over US$9000 for expenses incurred while her child was being cared for, in addition to US$3000 to change the birth certificate – which had been issued with the Chinese couple named as parents. 

It also states that Allen was asked to pay over US$18,000 in compensation to the Chinese couple for the return of the child – although the Independent reported in 2017 that the claim for compensation was dropped. Omega also reportedly agreed to pay part of or waive the fees. 

The lawsuit obtained by the Mail Online states that Allen and her husband have suffered 'injury, sorrow, shock, anguish, fright, horror, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, humiliation, shame and severe distress' following the incident and are now seeking an undisclosed sum in damages. 

Commenting on the incident in 2017, Omega Family Global disputed the allegations made by Allen at the time but said that due to legal reasons it could not discuss the matter in any further detail.

11 December 2017 - by Theofanis Michailidis 
A woman who acted as a surrogate for friends has sued the fertility clinic where they were treated, after it transferred one of the unused embryos made using her eggs to impregnate the same couple, without her consent...
6 November 2017 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A US surrogate has been united with her genetic child who she carried alongside the intended parents' embryo in an apparent case of superfetation... 
14 November 2016 - by Lucas Taylor 
Some hospitals in the UK are reportedly asking surrogates to leave NHS grounds before handing babies over to their intended parents...
7 November 2016 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A surrogate has refused to give her consent for the parents of twins to become the children's legal parents, even though she and her husband are not seeking any active involvement in the children's upbringing...
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