Landmark case on genetic parent's rights


Environmental influences from the time of fertilisation onwards have “dramatic effects” on how “we ultimately end up”, a geneticist told a family law case this week.

Giving evidence in a case to establish the right of a genetic mother to be named on the register of births as the mother of twins, genetic researcher Dr Cliona Molony agreed a surrogate mother could have a dramatic influence on what type of child she produces.

The landmark case involves a married couple challenging the refusal of the State to allow the genetic mother of two children born to a surrogate mother to be listed as their mother on their birth certificates. The action has been supported by the surrogate mother, a sister of the genetic mother.

The State is defending the case on the basis that the surrogate mother is the mother of the children and her motherhood is irrefutable in law.

Dr Molony told the court a person’s genome is the DNA given by the genetic mother and father. She said as a result of a person’s genetic make-up they could be fit and slim but still be very high risk for a heart attack.

There was no dispute between the couple and the surrogate mother.