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Worst Nightmare: Swapped At Birth

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Could you give up the boy you'd raised for two years?


This is every mom's worst nightmare. Two mothers in Russia have been forced to swap their two-year-old sons after DNA tests revealed the children had been mixed up as newborns by a careless nurse, according to Sky News.

A court ordered the two women to exchange the boys they had raised as their own, the Russian media is reporting.

How could something like this happen? The error was uncovered when one of the mothers, Anna Androsova, discovered her son's maternity ward ID tag actually had the mother's name Zarema Taisumova on it. Androsova tracked down the Chechen woman, saw the blue-eyed boy and declared, "This is my son."

But Taisumova refused to swap the children without proof. The hospital in central Russia ordered DNA tests, which confirmed the boys had been mixed up.

Androsova initially pleaded with her family to keep Nikita, the boy she had raised for two years as her own. But she later decided to pursue the exchange through the court.

Weeks after the switch, Taisumova was still deep in shock, interviewed on Russian television with her biological son playing on her lap.

She has changed her dark-haired and brown-eyed biological son's name from Nikita to Ali, but said she would continue to love the other little boy whom she had named Adlan.

Both children are reportedly struggling to adapt to their new families. Adlan, now called Nikita by his biological mother, misses his Chechen mom and his older brother says he loved the old Nikita more.

The maternity ward has blamed the error on a lack of staff, explaining only two nurses were caring for 20 newborns. The nurse responsible for the error has been fired, and the hospital's head doctor said there is little else they can do.

To prevent something like this from ever happening again, many hospital maternity wards have rigid safety practices in place. In India, they tag the newborns and their mothers with unique Radio Frequency IDs, which can prevent stealing as well as swapping by mistake while the baby is in the hospital. In Spain, babies are fingerprinted at birth.

Here in the States, hospitals routinely use triple and sometimes quadruple identification bands to insure that a baby is not separated from its mother, reports the New York Times.

Could you hand over a child you had raised for two years? Which pull would be stronger for you -- nature or nurture? Comment in our momlogic community.

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302 comments so far | Post a comment now
Stephanie April 8, 2009, 5:36 PM

This story just breaks my heart. I have no idea what I would do if I was faced with the same dilemma, but my heart just bleeds for both moms…and both babies. The whole situation is truly tragic (and I can’t help but think that moms should just keep their babies by their side post-delivery)…

Ashley May 6, 2009, 12:57 PM

This whole story is crazy. I would be severly hurt if this were to happen to me. I worry sometimes about what the world is coming to.

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Vicki April 24, 2010, 11:03 PM

There is no right / wrong answer here. The sooner the kids are placed back with their biological parents the better. I am 41 yrs old and I did not learn the fact that I had been swapped at birth until very recently after the man I thought was my father all my life died. It was obvious I looked like none of my relatives and I never understood why the woman I thought was my mother was seldom nice to me. It turned out that my “mom” had twins who died at birth while my biological mother died after giving birth to me. The nun that ran the Catholic hospital where I was born made the switch instead of delivering me to my real family — it feels horrible to say the least. I am still struggling with the pain and the uncertainty of who my real family is. So I ask everyone out there not to be so quick to judge on a terrible mistake such as baby swapping is; but rather think of how that child might feel like when he/she finds out as an adult that they’ve been lied to all their lives and no one did anything about it to set it straight.

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