62-Year-Old Had Brother´s "In Vitro" Baby

French Prosecutor Orders Investigation

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PARIS, JUNE 21, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A prosecutor ordered a fresh investigation into the case of a 62-year-old surrogate mother who shocked the country with an admission that her handicapped brother is the father of her child.

The woman, Jeanine, said she did it to continue the family line. «I didn´t think it would cause any problems,´´ she told Le Parisien newspaper.

Jeanine, whose surname has not been disclosed, gave birth May 14 to a boy, Benoit-David, at a hospital in Frejus, in southeastern France.

Another woman´s fertilized embryo had been implanted in her womb at the Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles, making Jeanine a surrogate mother.

The baby boy´s genetic sister, Marie-Cecile, was born using the same technique a week later in California to the American woman who had donated the embryos.

Jeanine revealed Wednesday that the children´s father was her brother Robert, who has been blind, disfigured and partially paralyzed since a 1992 suicide attempt.

French law prohibits surrogate mothers. It also prohibits the insemination of older women. Only younger couples, «married, or living together for at least two years,» can legally resort to in vitro fertilization, the law says.

The two babies are with Jeanine and Robert, and their 80-year-old mother, in the town of Draguignan in southern France.

Christian Girard, a prosecutor in Draguignan, announced that an investigation has begun in the Court of Minors to establish if the two children are in «a possible dangerous situation.»

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