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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 50

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink Ebook MapMar del Plata, Bosque Peralta Ramos

“Doctor Burán, a pleasure to meet you,” said Rocío. “Of course, by now I’ve heard about you, as you know. I’ve read your version of events thoroughly, my father and I analysed it yesterday. Frankly, I don’t want to discourage you, but we’re facing a very difficult case. I don’t want to raise your hopes falsely; in these circumstances, logic suggests you would have to be the loser. I’m putting it to you like this because I don’t want you to hire my services without knowing my opinion. The fees I would charge would not be excessive, because you would already be paying ten thousand dollars to the practice, part of which would correspond to me. That’s why I’m prepared to include the analysis of the problem that we can carry out here in the estimate you accepted yesterday. However, when I have to travel to Mar del Plata, as well as the flight and accommodation expenses, I would charge five hundred dollars for each day I’m there. You should give me sufficient notice before each journey, so that I can organise my work in Buenos Aires. We believe that with this offer, we’re giving very special consideration to the fact that you are a colleague. I await your answer...”

“That’s OK with me,” said Roberto, “how would you like me to pay the ten thousand?”

“Four thousand now, or in a few days, and the rest in six monthly quotas,” said Bareilles.

“You’ll have the advance tomorrow,” answered Roberto.

“Well, doctor,” continued Rocío, “Now that we’ve agreed the conditions, I’ll go on explaining. I know I’m not telling you anything new; as a professional, you will have arrived at your own conclusions. But naturally you expect from us, the specialists, a more precise and objective viewpoint. I’ll tell you the outlook, according to our criteria. We’re supposing that the child that Juana Artigas is carrying is really yours, but we’re not sure... There’s only one way to eliminate this doubt,: for you to undergo biological tests. Now then, if the child really does carry your genes, we can’t see much chance against a lawsuit for acknowledgement of filiation. To tell the truth, Doctor Burán, analysing the facts in an orderly fashion within the classical legal scheme, one could almost say that you haven’t got a leg to stand on.”

“Right,” said Roberto with a bitter smile, “that’s comforting. What should I do, commit suicide?”

“I’m sorry, doctor,” she said, “we must be realistic. It’s the only way to face the situation efficiently. We need to accept, Doctor Burán, that the fraudsters who are pressurising you have planned everything to perfection. In practice, how could we prove that Miss Artigas has been inseminated artificially with your...erm...let’s say...semen? You can see that it’s almost impossible, these criminals have drawn their plan up well. They took advantage of the fact that you had had a certain relationship with that woman several years ago. With the evident purpose of reinforcing this circumstantial evidence, she visited you during the period of probable conception. You yourself, Doctor Burán, tell us in your personal missive about your practice and the people in the waiting room who saw her come out of your office rearranging her clothes. We think those people will be offered as witnesses by Juana Artigas, that behaviour was certainly premeditated. If Álvez also declares that you acknowledged authorship of the pregnancy when you went to his gynaecological practice, it would be very difficult to get a filial lawsuit rejected. We don’t know how to show that they’ve set you a sinister trap. Let this be clear, doctor: we’ll have to use all our energy over this point, all our efforts. If you deny paternity, the opposing party will surely request biological tests. Your refusal to undergo them will be considered as circumstantial evidence against your position. This supposition, added to the other elements that support Juana Artigas’s version, will be definitive, we believe. We could almost say that in those conditions, the lawsuit would be accepted.”

Burán was still demoralised, but he managed to ask, “And what if the test was positive? What if the report says I’m the father?”

“The judge is not obliged to follow the conclusions of the test report,” stated Rocío Bareilles, “but in order to do without it, other elements no less convincing are required. The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation has recently decided this.”

“So we need to reinforce our situation,” said Roberto, “to prove the falsehood of Juana’s statements...”

“That’s right,” said Rocío, “lamentably, doctor, in our case it will be very difficult, improbable. Except for the possible statement of Miss Sandrelli, there are no other circumstances that support your position. We know this young lady has been intimately linked to you... Her testimony will be of insignificant value for that reason. So we must acknowledge, Doctor Burán, that in our case we cannot see serious elements to oppose the pretensions of Ms Juana Artigas. They will offer testimonies, presumptions and biological tests. You, Burán, can only offer your word, and perhaps also that of your former lover. You can see that the judges in our case will be obliged to proceed reasonably; they will not be able to get away from the scientific data, from the same circumstances, without the existence of other trial elements which allow it. Based on this analysis, it’s clear what the end of the story will be. We can’t see how this lamentable situation can be altered, unless...”

“Yes? What?” said Roberto anxiously, “is there a way out?”

“Well, if we could somehow demonstrate the fraudulent machinations... It’s your only possibility, we see no other. Even so, even if you proved it, the matter would not be simple.”

“Even in that case?” said Burán, “why, if I prove that I didn’t have sex with her, what would I be guilty of? Why would I be responsible?”

“It’s not that simple,” answered Rocío, “there’s a protagonist here who, although innocent, is being manipulated in a lowly manner. I refer to your child, apparently, soon to be born.”

Roberto lowered his head, as if having received a hammer blow.

“It’s worth wondering what decision justice will take faced with the vulnerability of the minor,” went on explaining the lawyer, “whether they will allow classification as having lost its father, although they know that, biologically, it’s you. In your defence, it could be said that you cannot be responsible for acts that you have not really carried out. Third parties have used your semen illegitimately, they made it possible for an embryo to be generated. They have done it not only without your consent, but undoubtedly against your tacit intention. Our law does not grant legal effect to acts carried out without discernment, intention, or liberty. In our case, there wouldn’t even be an act on your part. Indeed, your conduct with Miss Alicia Sandrelli...”

Rocío stammered, aware that she was entering private terrain, about which Burán was extremely sensitive.

“Excuse me,” she said, “I’m touching on these matters out of necessity, Doctor Burán, I’m sorry if it bothers you...”

“By now, nothing bothers me. Don’t hold back yourself, please.”

“Right,” agreed the lawyer, “I was saying that you had relations with this young lady, without ever thinking of the possibility of having a child, with her or with anybody else... What’s more, you even used an contraceptive device to avoid that result.”

It was clear that it was uncomfortable for Rocío Bareilles to refer to such intimate situations. In spite of everything, she went on.

“That was the only act you carried out...erm...sexual relations with Miss Alicia Sandrelli. The act of conception, the injection of your sperm into the uterus of Miss Artigas, was carried out by someone else, let us suppose Álvez. What’s more, it’s essential to understand that it is impossible for a causal relationship to exist between one fact and the other. It’s not the natural and ordinary course for what occurred to happen. More clearly, we can say that it’s impossible by going to bed with one woman to get another woman pregnant. Unless there are fraudulent manoeuvres, as is allegedly the case here. Without the existence of, technically speaking, an ‘act’ on your part, it would be fair to say that neither should the consequences be allowed to stand against you. To attribute a child to someone is one of the most serious consequences imaginable. In this light, Doctor Burán, we could conclude that you have the possibility of eliminating obligation, if you prove that Artigas got pregnant thanks to illicit insemination with your sperm. If we stick to this line, I reiterate, the child should be classified as having lost its father. This result, Doctor Burán, is undoubtedly painful from the moral point of view, because the baby didn’t ask to come into this world and, of course, he is not guilty of anything.”

“Undoubtedly...” said Roberto, burdened.

Too often he had asked himself what that child would be like, if he would be like him, or if he would inherit its mother’s perversity. This irreconcilable duality made him imagine his child as an angel... or as a demon. He loved him and detested him... but in the bottom of his heart, he knew that affection would prevail over hatred. He didn’t want to become conscious of it; he was afraid of weakness and allowing himself to be led by his affectionate impulses. He knew that this would cause him great pain, but it would be inevitable. Now, slowly but inexorably, his dormant conscience was awakening.

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationAugust 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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