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  • Lesbian mum kills son
  • By Frank Walker
  • The Sun-Herald
  • 04/08/2002 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 30 articles in 2002 )
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Patrick - the Family Court's story about this boy's death
Battle for boy ends in double tragedy
Lesbian Mother Kills 2 yo

A bitter court battle between a lesbian mother and the gay sperm donor father of her two-year-old son has ended in tragedy with the woman killing herself and the boy.

The 40-year-old woman lost her fight to restrict the sperm donor father's access to the boy in the Family Court four months ago.

She had argued that she and her lesbian partner were all the parents the boy needed and that the man had no right even to call himself a father.

The court case caused a furore but Family Court Judge Paul Guest ruled it was in the boy's best interests for the man to have regular contact with him.

Justice Guest said the law ought to be changed to acknowledge the rights of sperm donors to act as fathers.

The gay man, 50, was overjoyed and told reporters he would take the boy to the cricket and the football.

But last Thursday the woman was found dead in her Melbourne home with her son in what police said was an apparent murder-suicide.

In October 1997 an advertisement appeared in the Personal column of the Melbourne Star Observer, a gay and lesbian weekly newspaper. It read: "Attractive, creative, intelligent gay woman seeks sperm donor/co-parent. Gay man/couple preferred. Level of involvement negotiable. GSOH (good sense of humour) essential."

The woman interviewed several prospective men before approaching a gay social acquaintance she had met in 1989.

The man and the woman agreed that he would provide the sperm and she would do the artificial insemination.

He told her he was delighted as he had contributed to the upbringing of five children and wanted to be known as the child's father. He wanted to take an active role and see the child one or two days a week.

It took about 35 attempts over a year, but eventually the woman fell pregnant. The woman and her partner celebrated over dinner with the donor. But then relations started to sour.

The woman told the man she did not want him present at the birth, and gradually cut him off. The lesbian couple moved house and the donor could not find them. He only found out later that the boy, Patrick, was born on September 11, 1999.

He used a private detective to find the women and the boy and for a year he managed to visit the baby a handful of times.

But the women demanded he never call himself Patrick's dad. "Patrick will grow up knowing the difference between a donor and a father," they wrote to him on October 26, 2000. They complained he came with too many toys, took too many photographs of the baby and caused friction with their mutual friend who provided the meeting place.

In April 2002 the women went to the Family Court in an attempt to restrict the man's involvement to two three-hour visits a year.

The court banned publication of the names of those involved except to name the boy Patrick.

The mother told the court the visits put enormous strains on her relationship with her lesbian partner and interfered with them functioning as a family unit.

The man said he simply wanted to be a father to his son. "I would like to contribute to his life," he said. "I would like to take him to see kangaroos bounding through the bush. I want to take him to the MCG to see cricket and football."

The judge said the mother's attitude to the father was irrational and bordered on hatred. The couple had been "obsessed" with denying the father a natural, ordinary, parental and fatherly relationship with his son.

Over the past four months the mother's lesbian partner had arranged the father's visits and sources say contacts had been going smoothly and the father was enjoying a healthy relationship with the toddler.

It is also believed the mother had received psychiatric treatment since the court case.

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