Couple gives up test-tube twin

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The Independent Online
IN THE LATEST twist to an astonishing test-tube baby case,a New York woman who gave birth three months ago to twin boys of different colours - one white, one black - has agreed to give up the black child because she is not his biological mother.

"We are giving him up because we love him," said Donna Fasano, 37, in a statement issued through her lawyer.

Genetically, the boy is the child of Deborah Perry-Rogers and Robert Rogers, who are black and share his DNA. Ms Fasano gave birth to the Rogers' child because of alleged mistakes at a Manhattan fertility clinic. The drama began on 24 April last year at the clinic of Dr Lillian Nash, when both Ms Fasano and Ms Perry-Rogers checked in for embryo implantations. What followed might be seen as a parable for what can go wrong when man interferes in the natural course of human reproduction.

As best as can be determined - the case is currently under investigation by the state of New York - there was a mix-up in embryos. Eggs had previously been extracted from both women. They were then fertilised in vitro by their respective husbands in preparation for implantation in the uterus. The procedure is fairly common for couples having trouble with conceiving.

Somehow the eggs implanted in Ms Fasano included some of her own and some from the Perry-Rogers batch. Ms Perry-Rogers did not become pregnant after the procedure. But an amniocentesis examination of Ms Fasano some weeks later revealed the unexpected problem: she was carrying twins, they seemed healthy, but their genetics were entirely different.

The Fasanos knew nothing of their black baby's real parents and, after the delivery last December, proceeded to raise both boys as their own.

"Both of these boys are beautiful," said Ivan Tantleff, Ms Fasano's lawyer. "They sit in the swing together. They sit in the tub together."

It was only two weeks ago, when the Rogers filed a lawsuit against Dr Nash and her clinic, that the identity of the child's genetic parents became known.

The decision to surrender the boy has been wrenching for Ms Fasano, who this week has been attempting to evade media attentions. "This wasn't my doing," she said. "People with infertility problems should be able to go to their doctors and trust them to do the right thing. To them it may be a job; to me it's my life."

Though there is heartbreak all around, what has happened has also been a miracle. The Rogers were still unable to reproduce even with the clinic's help. Thanks to human error - and thanks to the unwitting help of Ms Fasano - they will now have a child.

Lawyers said that the black couple harboured no ill-feelings toward Ms Fasano and said they expected visiting rights to be arranged so that the twins will be able to maintain contact with one another.