An Italian judge has ordered that two children born following an embryo mix-up at a Rome fertility clinic should reside with the birth mother and not with the twins' biological parents.
The birth mother found out about the mistake three months into the pregnancy, but refused to hand over the children to their biological parents whose embryo had been mistakenly transferred.
Speaking last April when she found out the twins were not her biological children, the birth mother said: 'I had a moment of human rejection when I knew that they were not mine, or rather ours, that the embryos that I was carrying were of another woman, but then we decided that the pregnancy had to continue, our values are these'.
'These children live inside me. I heard them beat on my heart. They grow and are healthy', she said. 'How can I decide the fate of two creatures so long-awaited?'
Under Italian law, the woman who gives birth is considered to be the child's legal mother. Hearing the case, Judge Silvia Albano said only the children can decide who they want their parents to be, reports The Local.
Michele Ambrosini, the birth couple's lawyer, told Il Fatto Quotidiano there could be contact between the couples at a later date when things 'had calmed down'. However, the biological parents have told La Stampa that their requests to meet the other couple had so far been met with no response. 'We feel ignored; nobody recognises our rights or sees our vital role in this affair', they said.
The couples were among four women receiving treatment at the Sandro Pertini hospital on the same day. La Repubblica reports the couples involved in the mix up share similar names.
The birth couple is now reportedly looking into suing the hospital involved.