Jess and Stacy are considering petitioning the Government to get both their last names listed as “mother” on daughter Evie’s birth certificate. Photo: Supplied.

Local couple want law to recognise them as mothers

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A local lesbian couple, who conceived their daughter using donor sperm and IVF, want the law to catch up with modern Kiwi families.

Jess and Stacy, who don’t want their last names used, are considering petitioning the Government to get their names both listed as “mother” on their daughter Evie’s birth certificate.

Fertility Week, which ends today and is run by charity Fertility NZ, aims to raise awareness around what it takes to have a child.

The couple, who live in the region, got pregnant using Jess’ eggs, fertilising them with donor sperm and transferring them to Stacy, 31, who carried their baby.

The process was complicated slightly because Jess, 28, has Stickler Syndrome – a hereditary condition that causes blindness and joint problems. Because of this they were eligible for public funding to have their embryos tested and then the unaffected ones were transferred for a pregnancy.

The birth was also eventful as baby Evie had meconium aspiration – she had done her first poo inside the womb and breathed it in. It was only her lack of movement that caused Stacy to become worried and go to hospital where she was quickly taken for an emergency caesarean.

“She’s that much more precious because it could have easily been a tragedy,” Jess said.
“She’s 10 weeks now … You’re tired all the time but it’s so worth it. She’s already growing into this amazing little human. She’s smiling and figured out she’s got hands and feet now, which is hilarious. We’re both enjoying it.”

But the couple became frustrated when it came to filling out official documents. Jess had to list her name under “other” on the birth certificate and under “father” on their online application for an accommodation supplement.

“It’s not good. Biologically she’s my child and we’re both equally Evie’s mother. “All they have to do is put a ‘m’ in front of ‘other’. It’s not difficult.”

The couple raised their issues with the Department of Internal Affairs and the Human Rights Commission, but were told that was a “Government-level” problem and offered mediation.

They want to petition the Government to change how parents are defined.

“They’ve passed the marriage equality bill, surely the next logical step is both people want to have children. We should change legislation around what is a parent.”

“Government agencies are not quite up to speed with modern New Zealand families.”

The couple advise others contemplating having a baby in a similar way to enquire sooner rather than later, ask lots of questions and approach it one step at a time.

“In our case, we wouldn’t have Evie if not for the doctor and clinic. We couldn’t imagine life without her. She’s too gorgeous.”

– Sarah Harris, New Zealand Herald