The little girl clambers over her mom's on the couch, an energetic blur in a cheerful yellow dress.
She has no idea of the drama surrounding her existence – all that matters to her right now is that her parents are there to cater to her every need.
Yet waiting in the wings is a man who wants to be part of her life too. And he’s prepared to fight with everything he has for what he believes is his legal right.
The two women sitting on either side of Lisa* are up for the fight too. They want to be the sole parents of a much longed-for a child.
On the face of it, the process that led to Lisa’s birth is a heart-warming study of progressive modern life.
Gauteng-based couple Maria Roma no* (37), a lecturer, and Busi Ndlovu* (39), a nurse, found a sperm donor four years ago on a website that promised to match single people with a potential co-parent or sperm donor.
John Kabe* (46), an IT specialist also from Gauteng, agreed to help the couple realize their dream, and in March 2019 Lisa arrived.
But shortly after the birth, things started going awry.
The couple realized their understanding of the arrangement was very different from John’s and things have now escalated to the point where they’re locked in a legal battle.
The couple have lodged a request with the South Gauteng high court to label John simply as “the sperm donor” without any parental rights and res ponsibilities.
They’re arguing John only claimed parental rights after Lisa was born and that he’s using the baby as a smokescreen to hide the fact that he’s gay from his family.
“We’d been looking for someone who wouldn’t be actively involved in raising our child,” Maria tells us.
“We’d agreed John could see her sometimes and she could meet his family. We wanted to establish a friendship and not have him be a stranger we found online,” she explains.
But this didn’t mean they wanted him to co-parent their daughter, she adds, or have any paternal rights.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Celebrates 22 years in music with a new single, Who You Are, and album
I'VE SEEN A RHINO CRY
He became a wildlife vet by chance – now Johan is an expert in treating rhinos and it’s become his passion to save endangered species
A CLEAN SWEEP!
Sthembile proves dreams do come true after graduating from the university where she works as a cleaner
I'M SO TIRED OF THE PAIN
This nail technician is in emotional and physical agony as gangrene slowly claims her fingertips – and doctors can do nothing to help her
LAYING DOWN THE LAW
Soon you might not have a choice about whether to have the Covid vaccine. We take a look at what countries around the world are doing
The actor’s latest movie is close to his heart
NO KIDS AND IT'S OK!
Jennifer Aniston has opened up about the pressures she’s faced for not having children
SCHOOL CAN BE SCARY
A new school year is full of challenges and can be quite stressful. We asked the experts for a ways you can support your child and help them start this new phase with self- confidence
WANT TO ADOPT?
Adopting from a shelter has so many benefits
THE FUTURE OF WORK
Many companies are adopting a hybrid model which allows employees to work from home some of the time. But what does this mean exactly?