The supreme court has ruled that only the birth mother can appear as the legal mother of a child.
Despite being critical of the lack of legislation around surrogacy, the top court sided with the State in its appeal in a complicated case this morning.
The case was brought by the genetic mother of twins whose sister gave birth to them as a surrogate. She sought to be named as mother on the children’s birth certs but the State has insisted that only the woman who gives birth to a child can be recognised.
In a landmark ruling last year, the High Court had decided that genetics can indeed be used to determine maternity just as it can paternity. But the State appealed that decision to the Supreme Court where the seven judge panel delivered their verdict this morning.
The case was fought between the family and the state registrar.
The outcome has major implications for the family, as the mother recognised on a birth certificate is legally viewed as a child’s mother – and is therefore given legal standing in matters including inheritance, while the genetic mother will be given no legal recognition.
In this case the woman who gave birth to the children is the sister of their genetic mother – and both consent to having the genetic mother recognised on the children’s birth certificate.
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