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Nicole Junior and Chanel Glover were ready to be mothers, so the same month as their wedding, they began pursuing IVF.

The two decided early on that Glover would be the one to become pregnant. Junior didn’t care about having a genetic connection — either way, she figured, the baby would be theirs. Still, she was unexpectedly thrilled when she and her wife were able to find a sperm donor who shared some of her features.

“We felt like we would be able to see my face in our child,” Junior, now 43, said. She and the donor both traced their ancestry to Benin and he was even a Sagittarius, like her.

The ensuing fertility tests, medications, and procedures cost upward of $30,000, and the couple split the bills down the middle. Once Glover became pregnant, they chose a name and began planning a baby shower.

Then their marriage fell apart.

Their painstaking efforts to conceive a child, detailed later in hundreds of pages of court documents, ultimately resulted in a healthy baby boy. But it has also resulted in...