Mother Pregnant With Twins, But They’re Not Hers

It's not exactly a situation that any mother would ever dream could happen, but unfortunately, it is a situation that has happened on more than one occasion, in fact.

A woman's dream of becoming a mother finally comes true—double the fun with twins—except she's pregnant with someone else's babies. 

For women who have struggled with infertility, the road to becoming a mother is often a long and arduous one; emotions run high, and month after month can bring heartbreak—or joy. 

One mother, who finally became pregnant through in-vitro fertilization, was devastated to learn that after all she and her partner had been through the babies she was carrying were not hers. 

twins
Image via Flickr/ Nate Davis

The mother, pregnant with twins through IVF at Sandro Pertini Hospital in Rome, didn't discover the mix-up until she was more than three months along. 

The tale, which, unfortunately, is not the only case of its kind, does have a few more twists. The Telegraph reports that the mix-up occurred because two of the four women who received IVF treatment that day had very similar surnames—reportedly only three letters apart—so it's not clear if staff mixed the actual embryos up or if the woman herself mistakenly stepped forward when her name was called from the waiting room pool. 

What's worse, however, is that the biological mother of the twins that the other mother is carrying miscarried after her own IVF procedure, and under Italian law the biological mother has no claim to the babies that are biologically hers. In Italian law, whoever births the child has legal rights to the child, which kind of makes you wonder why on earth they even have a law like that. Is that the sort of thing that happens often there? 

{ MORE: Is Shielding Children From Unkindness Even Possible? }

Regardless, the mother who is carrying the twins that are not biologically hers plans to keep the babies and raise them as her own, unlike the results of a similar situation here in the States when an Ohio mother was implanted with the wrong embryos, also reportedly due to a name mix-up, carried the twins to term and then turned them over to the biological parents. 

What do you think? Is the Italian law fair, or should the biological mother have rights to the twins? 

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What do you think?

Mother Pregnant With Twins, But They’re Not Hers

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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33 comments

  1. melinda says:

    she should gave them babies to there bio,and think about what best for those babies, the father has rights
    and i’m sure he’ll sue for custody, p,s dna testing has been done
    http://www.thelocal.it/20140417/italy-embryo-mix-up-real-parents-identified

  2. Shana says:

    Natural or not at all.

  3. Ami says:

    I think it’s Ignorant and cruel to even suggest that she should have to give HER babies up after she carried them in HER body for nine whole months it’s not her job to fix the doctors mistake by making such a huge sacrifice against her will. This woman didn’t choose to be a surrogate, the doctors at that hospital made a horrible mistake which THEY should have to make up for not this poor mother.

  4. Erin says:

    As sad as this case is those are not her babies, it isnt a case of her adopting a baby without parents and if the other woman hadnt miscarried Im sure she would have wanted to switch once they were born. I understand the pain and sadness but if the cases were switched I gaurentee she would be wanting her babies once they were born. A surrogant mother also knows the love of that growing baby inside her but thst doesnt make the baby any more hers. This is just a sad case all around.

  5. nessajfunk says:

    It should 100% be up to the birth mother/parents no matter what the law is, no one should be else should be allowed to decide what is right or wrong in this case. It’s an unfortunate incident that neither party asked to be in but if I had tried and tried to conceive just to become pregnant and find out that they were on biologically mine. It would not change how I would feel about the babies growing inside of me, it’s not an easy thing to carry a life inside just to know that 9 months later they would be taken away. It’s a heart breaking situation and no one should be judging this family for deciding to keep the babies.

  6. tangled says:

    If I carry the babies they are mine. End of story. If I’m carrying them for nine months then give birth, they are my babies.

  7. Tesia says:

    That is very difficult for anyone to go through explicitly someone with infertility. I would hope that the women caring the babies would give them over to the biological parents. Basically her is body is a surrogate for another couple. And they got into this situation accidentally however they should understand more than anyone how badly the other couple wants there babies. As does the one caring the babies. She should give them to there biological parents and the clinic should pay everything for that couple to have there own biological children. Because that is what they wanted when they stared this process of ivf in the first place.

  8. denise says:

    Personally, I wouldn’t give up the babies although knowing of the mix-up. After all, they became a part of me from the moment of conception and thus became mines to love, cherish and hold through the good and bad times. The other couple though should be compensated with future free trials at IVF until they do conceive and are successful at bearing their own children. It really is a sad, no-win situation that pulls at your heart strings. I’m really sorry.

  9. Priscilla says:

    Someone DEFINITELY dropped the ball in that facility!! Its not like they mixed up your latte at starbucks, in fact Starbucks labels your coffee… Gee what a concept, to label stuff. Anyone can make a mistake but when it comes to healthcare or medical situations…You CANT drop the ball! They should have several ways to ensure they dont make a mistake like this. Now there are lives affected by this mistake and pain and loss and emotional trauma that will be with them for a lifetine. I have 2 daughters and before I had my first child I was told I might not be able to ever have children. Do you know how it feels to know youre finally carrying a life inside you, to change your whole life and have to leave your job cause its a high risk pregnancy, to be sick and in pain for 9 months to have endless hours of labor to then have an emergency c section with barely enough anesthesia cause babys heart is slowing down and will die?! To feel them slice you and rip you apart to then have someone say whoops sorry wrong genetics so the baby belongs to these other nice people….The HELL IT DOES! Thats my baby cause I didnt volunteer to surrogate and i just put my body through hell and with side effects i still live with, changed my whole life and you are saying shes not mine?! Shes mine just as much as an adopted child or step child you raise. Genetics arent everything. I can also understand the other couple who cant get pregnant and now their baby is in someone else. Thats just as devastating and there is no right or wrong here. No fair solution. But trust me that I would join forces with other parents and fight for facility to take consequence. I would start by forcing them to continue to ivf the other couple with my biological babies until it takes. And in the meantime accept that these babies have 2 sets of parents and look for psychological help to guide us through this heartbreaking situation. On either side theyre both emotionally, financially and physically invested in these children. To deny either one to the children is heartless. This is where you wish the judicial system had the same wisdom King Solomon had when having to decide who was the babys true mother.

  10. Allison says:

    It’s sad this is even a contraversary! The babies are not hers! Nothing in them are hers. And their mama wants them!! Adoption is different… The mama is giving them up. How could you go through life knowing these babies biological mama wants them! I sure couldn’t!

    • Erin says:

      I agree I would be devistated if after wanting a baby so bad someone else was going to raise them. I feel bad for the mother who is pregnant but those are not her children

  11. Courtney says:

    The fertility clinic needs to provide IVF to the mommy who,loses their baby whether it be the mom carrying twins because she gives them to the biological mom or whether it be to the mom that miscarried. I know that can’t possibly undo the damage, but it is not fair that if either of these women wanted to try again with IVF that they have to pay for it because it is extremely expensive. I can’t imagine this scenario but I also know that adoption and fostering children is not the same as having your own so to whoever said just adopt… That isn’t a solution. It can take many years to adopt and you may be told there is a child waiting for you only for that mom to decide she just can’t give her baby up, because it is the birth moms right to keep her baby. But in a case like this where the birth mom is not the biological mom it would be impossible to decide the right course of action.

  12. JillyBean says:

    And what happens when the children figure out their parents are not their biological parents? Can’t say their real parents didn’t want them, so how do you explain that their parents absolutely loved them and wanted them, but they were denied the chance to raise them because well, “she carried them, their hers!” The most important people in this scenario can’t even speak for themselves. So I just wonder if anyone’s thinking of that future situation. Are they going to lie forever? Lie for just a little? Or just make it ultra confusing by all four being their parents?

  13. JillyBean says:

    I had a very difficult pregnancy. I vomited until the very last day (peeing myself simultaneously most of the time), couldn’t eat, and had to drink weight gain shakes. Then I had back labor and sunny side up delivery. Even with all that, I believe in parental rights. For a loving biological parent to be denied their child is not right to me. I absolutely would give those sweet babies to their caring parents. I’m not saying it would be easy, but guess what? What’s right is not always easy, if it were, there’d be a lot less crime in this world. I think what’s shocking is how few people are outraged at how easy the medical facility is getting off by shrugging and saying “they might’ve responded to the wrong name in the waiting room. That is ridiculous! They should face consequences.

  14. Katie says:

    I don’t agree with how the story painted the birth mom out to be this monster because she decided she was going to keep the babies she birthed. That’s her right and that’s the law for a reason! I can’t quite understand why you would turn over babies to the biological mother when you carried the babies for 9 months, felt all of their movements and boned with the babies.

  15. Rachel says:

    If I carry the babies they are mine. End of story. If I’m carrying fir nine months then give birth they are my babies.

  16. Olasunbo says:

    Believe e it is a tough call. Carrying a baby for nine months is no joke, especially when you have been waiting for a while to do just that. Both women need to develop a relationship and find an amicable solution. This is an emotional thing, it cannot just be a case of right or wrong. The carrier of the babies will never be free in her conscience if she does not have the other woman’s blessing to keep them. I pray God helps them out.

  17. Jessica says:

    I myself never had trouble conceiving but I have close family members who tryed invetro. It is so unfair to the mother who is carrying the twins. She had waited so long to a baby and now when she is having twins, she will have to give them up. It’s not her fault they made a mistake.

  18. Kirsten says:

    As someone who went through IVF, I can say that this was one of my biggest fears. Twenty months after the birth of my son, there is no question that he’s biologically our child…however, I can’t imagine how difficult this situation has been for everyone involved. They have my heartfelt sympathies.

  19. valerie says:

    Knowing how hard it was for me and my husband to have a baby, between all the fights and ups and downs and numerous doctor visits and testing I would be so devastated to find out that myself or someone else was carrying the wrong child. We did eventually have twins also and if I was in this situation I would give them to their right parent even though it we would be the hardest thing to do but it wouldn’t be fair to any of us. I would however want to be in their lives because you have a special bond with them and they were apart of me for 9 months but these poor little babies deserve to be with their real mother. I feel awful for the real mother in this case and its a terrible feeling to go all this time getting pregnant ans then to find out someone else is carrying them and you cant have them is absolutely horrible .I hope she won’t stop fighting for them and eventually will get to keep her babies!

  20. valerie says:

    Knowing how hard it was for me and my husband to have a baby, between all the fights and ups and downs and numerous doctor visits and testing I would be so devastated to find out that myself or someone else was carrying the wrong child. We did eventually have twins also and if I was in this situation I would give them to their right parent even though it we would be the hardest thing to do but it wouldn’t be fair to any of us. I would however want to be in their lives because you have a special bond with them and they were apart of me for 9 months but these poor little babies deserve to be with their real mother. I feel awful for the real mother in this case and its a terrible feeling to go all this time getting pregnant ans then to find out someone else is carrying them and you cant have them is absolutely horrible

  21. Angela says:

    I think some people get really judge mental over stuff. How can anyone really have an opinion about this one way or another? I can’t fathom being either mother and the decision really is impossible. It is a horrible situation for both women and the one opinion I have is to do something about the IVF facility responsible for such a catastrophic mistake to make sure this HUGE error doesn’t happen again. ID wristbands, anyone?

    • Erin says:

      Really how hard is it to ask the mom when they come in is this your correct name and birthdate? I work in a dermatology office and we ask every patient once they are in the room there name and birthdate it seems like common sense

  22. Rena says:

    Since pregnancy always takes a huge toll on your body, in so many ways, I would say it’s fair that the one who carried the babies keep them. But, it would be nice if the carrying mother allowed the biological mother a role in the babies’ lives. It is just such a devastating situation all around though.

  23. Aliya says:

    I dont even know how i would react if i was either mom in that situation. I dont think i could give the babies back tho

  24. EbyMom says:

    This is a very delicate and sensitive matter in that for anyone to go thru with IVF it means last option. It is not easy. Yes she carried someoneelse’s babies but they grew inside her and they all had a bond. It is not easy to say let her give up those babies. If the other woman’s IVF had been successful everybody will say let all raise their babies irrespective of…I think the woman should raise her kids and if she is having pity on the other one. She should give her one baby. The Italian law is kind of fair cos to carry babies thru that method is kind of dicy. It might or might not succeed. So the person that suffered should have those babies. It is all about emotional and mental state.

  25. shannon says:

    She gave them life..they’re hers blood or not…that’d be like saying if you marry someone with a kid already you can’t call them yours cus the kids not biologically yours…so biologically Hers or not its her choice because she gave birth to them

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