In a case like this, it’s hard not to wonder if there will be any winners and losers — or just hearts broken all round.
A court in South Africa has been given the difficult task of deciding the fate of two families whose babies were switched at birth.
The two mothers, who have only recently found out that their daughters were biologically not their own, are now facing off in the South African court system. What complicates this case even further is that one mother wants to keep the daughter she has come to know as her own, while the second mother wants her biological baby back.
The mums only found out about the mistake when the girls were aged three.
One of the unnamed mothers had sued her ex-husband, the father of her eldest child, for maintenance for her younger child. He denied paternity and ordered DNA tests.
The mother never thought for a second they would come back showing he wasn’t in fact the baby’s father. But they did — and further to that, the little girl was not in fact related to either of them.
“She got the shock of her life when she found out,” the woman’s lawyer, Henk Strydom, told The Times of South Africa.
After an investigation, the women were told that their babies were swapped at birth.
Both girls were born in the Tambo Memorial Hospital in Johannesburg, although it is unclear how the error was made.
The women then decided to meet and gradually met their own biological daughters last December. Henk Strydom said his client saw resemblances to herself in her biological daughter.
“She conveyed to me that it was traumatic. You can see it’s not easy for her. She has to care for a child that is not hers on her own while her child is with someone else,” Mr Strydom said.
Ultimately, one of the mothers “became unhappy” with the process and approached the children’s court in a bid to exchange the child she has been caring for since birth. But it was not to be that simple.