07 Jun Egg Donation and IVF Help Form Modern Families
“An estimated 6 million to 14 million children have a lesbian or gay parent.” (PFLAGupstatesc.org) Egg donation, surrogacy and IVF play a major role in forming these modern families who may not have had the opportunity to have children otherwise. Laura Cavin and Sheri Green, a same-sex couple from Naples, Florida, are a shining example of how assisted reproductive technology (ART) can help create a beautiful family.
Laura Cavin and Sheri Green struggled to form a family. Cavin and Green always knew they wanted to have children together. On their first try with ART, Green provided her eggs and, with the use of donor sperm, the couple was overjoyed when they conceived. Shortly after a single embryo was transplanted into Cavin’s uterus for gestation, it split to form twins. Sadly, at 28 weeks a very rare condition known as twin-to-twin transfusion ended the pregnancy. Cavin and Green were devastated and discouraged. While the ART procedure had worked, they remained childless. Fortunately, the couple grew closer in overcoming the loss of their twin boys and discovered newfound hope and confidence in their ability to build a family together.
Round two was a huge success! Laura Cavin and Sheri Green both went in for the procedure this time. Again, Green’s eggs were used with donor sperm. But this time, Cavin and Green both received two embryos to carry, in hopes of improving their odds for a successful pregnancy and birth. Dr. Craig Sweet, who performed the procedures said, “The chance that all four transferred embryos would implant and grow was less than 2 percent… We were all amazed when the improbable occurred.” (www.usatoday.com)
But the improbable happened. Cavin and Green both became pregnant with two babies each. Now the challenge was to carry and bring four babies into the world together.
The two excited mothers planned to deliver on the same day so the quadruplets would share a common birthday, but by now the unexpected had become a norm for this couple. On May 9, 2011, just 31 weeks into the pregnancy, a partially ruptured placenta sent Cavin in for an emergency c-section, and Brianna and Derrick, the first of the quads, were born. The strain on Green triggered her labor, and when contractions hit, she was hospitalized as well. Just two short weeks later, on May 23, the other two quadruplets, Anthony and Cason, joined the family.
Laura Cavin and Sheri Green raise hope for other lesbian couples yearning for family. Their experience with ART promotes a promising future for modern family formation. But creating the family is just the beginning. Now, Cavin and Green face a legal battle for parental rights. The state of Florida only recognizes parental rights for mothers who give birth to their children, and the state has for more than 30 years banned same-sex couple adoption. As a result, Cavin and Green are legal parents only to the two children each birthed. This prohibits Cavin and Green from sharing benefits such as health and life insurance with all four quadruplets. Unless each goes through the process of adopting the other’s two children, the quads, were one or both mothers to become incapacitated, could ultimately end up separated.
Cavin and Green decided that potential threat to their family was unacceptable. They decided to take their chances in court to fight the adoption ban to ensure a more stable future for their new family. As reported by USA Today, “A 2010 Florida appeals court ruling upheld a Miami-Dade County judge's decision that called the ban unconstitutional. Since that ruling, more than 150 cases have been approved in Miami-Dade. There are at least three cases pending in Lee [County]. Because filings aren't made public, it's unclear if there are others in Southwest Florida” (www.usatoday.com). Hopefully, the outcome of Cavin and Green’s case will be as favorable and encourage other same sex-couples to form “modern families.”