Two young girls have seen their childhoods “irredeemably marred” after a 6-year-long legal fight between their gay and lesbian parents, a judge has said.
The girls were born through an ‘informal’ sperm donation between the two couples who subsequently fell out.
The judge, Mr Justice Cobb, warned about the “immense difficulties” which are created when children are born by known donor fertilisation.
Mr Justice Cobb said that the two girls, aged nine and 13, had lived through what was arguably the most “bruising and distressing” case he had ever been involved in.
He said that the parents had also paid a “high psychological price”, especially the girls’ biological mother who developed serious mental health problems.
The emotional and psychological wreckage, Mr Justice Cobb argued, “illustrates all too clearly” the problems “unleashed” in cases of sperm donation between friends or acquaintances.
The two couples, who are both in civil partnerships, ran up over half a million pounds in legal fees during the feud.
Justice Cobb ruled that the girls should remain in the custody of their biological mother.
He added: “A very high psychological price can be paid, and I believe has been paid in this case, by all concerned.”
Earlier this year, a lesbian mother claimed that her two teenage daughters had been left “very, very upset” by the gay sperm donor who refused to be their father figure.
Mark Langridge said he never considered himself as the girls’ father, but their mother Mandy Baker strongly disputes this.
At a hearing in Basildon, Judge A P Brewer backed a previous ruling that Langridge must pay £26 a week towards bringing up the girls.
Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, has previously warned: “It’s always a recipe for disaster to try and create children to order by artificial means to satisfy the desires of natural parents who are unrelated and lack a shared commitment to parenting.”