A B.C. couple and their close friend who acted as the sperm donor in the births of their two children found themselves in court this week after an admitted mistake that left their donor off both birth certificates.
According to court documents published Thursday, Xiaoming Liu – also named Echo – and her girlfriend Nana Liu used two semen donations from Marc Cabianca in order to have their two children, Luca and Luna.
The first donation was used by Echo in October 2017, but the three didn’t create their first semen donation agreement until February 2018.
As part of the signed documents, Cabianca would be recognized as the children’s biological father, while Echo and Nana would be listed as their mothers. The Lui’s would be the child’s legal guardians, the court heard.
But when Luca was born in Vancouver on June 7, 2018 the registrar with the Vital Statistics Agency said they were unable to register the three friends as parents because the written donor agreement was not signed prior to the conception – a requirement under B.C.’s Family Law Act. Instead, Nana and Echo were the only two listed.
In April that year, when Nana became pregnant from Cabianca’s sperm, the three entered a similar agreement as the last, including that all three be named on the birth certificate.
Luna was born on Jan. 20, 2019 and the Liu’s registered themselves as her parents online four days later, the court heard, even though the online process only allowed for two parents to be included.
“They were under the mistaken impression that by separately submitting the Birth Registration Summary and other supporting documents to the Vital Statistics Agency, they could subsequently request the Registrar to amend the birth registration of Luna to add Marc as a parent,” the court documents read.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Cabianca also registered himself as Luna’s father. A month later, he was told by the Vital Statistics Agency that he couldn’t be added to the certificate as a parent.
But in her decision, Justice Diane MacDonald ordered both birth certificates to be amended to include Luna and Luca’s biological father.
“The statute should be construed to be beneficial to the parents and the child,” she wrote, adding that it is in the best interest of the three adults – but “especially the children” – that Cabianca be included.
“In my view, it is not appropriate for the Registrar to decline to identify Marc as a parent on Luna’s birth registration based on a technicality,” she continued.
As for other couples who are interested in entering into similar agreements that involve more than two parents, MacDonald recommended they deal with the agency in person.