Lesbian couple in court battle with gay man over custody of daughter


A lesbian couple are embroiled in a bizarre custody battle over their daughter – after the baby’s sperm donor dad demanded access to the child.

Lesbian couple in court battle with gay man over custody of daughter

Stacey Cassin, 24, and her civil partner Kate, 26, are trying to block an attempt by their daughter’s biological father to gain full parental rights.

The couple, from Melton Mowbray, Leics., got married in June last year and opted for a donor because they could not afford IVF treatment.

Musician Mark Hartill, 30, came forward as a sperm donor after they advertised on a gay website.

The women claim they had a ”gentleman’s agreement” with Mark that he would not interfere with the child’s upbringing.

But they say after their 7lb 10oz girl was born Mark became besotted with her and is now demanding to see her on a regular basis.

Student nurse Stacey said she and bank worker Kate were determined to fight ”tooth and nail” through the courts to stop Mark gaining parental rights.

She said: ”The agreement was that Mark would be able to see the baby after the birth but he would not be a parent.

”Mark came to see her three times after the birth and has decided he wants to be a daddy, which breaks the verbal agreement we had.

”Now Mark’s family have been getting involved and his mum has sent us emails backing up her son.

”We are determined to fight this through the courts, though we never wanted it to come to this.

”We are sure right is on our side. Our girl is a beautiful baby who will be brought up in a loving, caring family.”

Mark, from Nottingham, refused to comment on the case or his daughter, whose name has not been revealed.

He said: ”It’s a private matter only a few members of my family know about. I don’t want to say anything that could prejudice the case.”

Earlier this month a lesbian mother lost a custody battle with a gay man who had fathered her two children.

The Court of Appeal upheld an order giving the 51-year-old company director joint residency for the 10-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl.



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