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Could a Texas child custody case get any more complicated?

An unusual court battle pits the father of twins against a woman who claims she shares parental rights. The unique Harris County case involves a 47-year-old woman who thought she became a mother last summer, only to have the sperm donor get child custody.

The woman says she was tricked. A one-time boyfriend allegedly used the woman to carry the twins while plotting to win child custody and raise the children with a male partner. The twins, conceived with the help of an anonymous egg donor, have no biological relationship to the "mother."

Court papers indicate the twin's dad initially struck a verbal deal with the woman. She allegedly agreed to become an at-home mother fully supported by the babies' biological father. The sperm donor asked the pregnant woman to document the arrangement legally and consider living with him and another man -- later revealed to be the dad's boyfriend.

The twins were born after the mother signed an affidavit declaring her "friend" was the twins' father but that she was not the biological mother. The document stated the woman voluntarily became pregnant.

A temporary restraining order was issued immediately after the twins' birth. The father asked a court's permission for custody and dismissal of the "surrogate's" parental rights.

The twins' birth mother sued her ex-boyfriend and his partner for fraud, breach of duty and emotional damages. The woman's attorney said the court was wrong to honor an illegal surrogacy agreement. In Texas, only married couples can contract with a surrogate to have children.

Two people apparently used an unorthodox method to achieve parenthood. The expectations of the sperm donor and the birth mother appeared to be entirely different.

The twins' birth mother said she was duped by a man she thought was her friend. The man with custody of the twins says the woman has no right to be his children's mother. The hearings will continue in family court.

Source: blogs.houstonpress.com, "Cindy Close & Marvin McMurrey III: Here's One Weird-Ass Child Custody Case," Craig Malisow, Sept. 19, 2012

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