A woman who had adopted three children but wanted a fourth hatched a "wicked" scheme, forcing her 14-year-old daughter to get pregnant with donor sperm, a British judge has ruled.
The teenager apparently miscarried her first pregnancy and inseminated herself six more times before she finally had a baby boy at age 17, the ruling said.
After hospital midwives became suspicious, the plot was uncovered, and the mother -- described as an American divorcee living in Britain -- is serving a five-year term for child cruelty.
The case dates to 2011 but was sealed and details were only released after the media challenged restrictions. The family members' names were withheld by court order.
High Court Judge Peter Jackson's ruling said the woman at the center of the case -- who had undergone sterilization for health reasons, according to the Guardian newspaper -- was blocked from adopting a fourth child.
She purchased sperm over the Internet from a Denmark-based company, Cryos International, and convinced her oldest daughter -- then just 14 years old -- to inseminate herself with syringes, the judge wrote.
The teen told authorities that she believed if she did it her mother would love her more.
“My mum is a very determined person and she does her best not to let anything get in her way if she wants it,” the girl was quoted as saying.
The mother was hoping for a girl and had the teen use concoctions of vinegar and lemon juice and adhere to a special diet in the hopes of influencing the gender of the child.
The court said it was likely the girl got pregnant quickly and then suffered a miscarriage. After she gave birth in July 2011, hospital staff became alarmed when the baby's grandmother tried to stop her daughter from breastfeeding the newborn.
"We don't want any of that attachment thing," she reportedly said.
The woman tried to leave the ward with the baby, and child protection was summoned. The teen and her siblings were put into foster care.
In his ruling, Jackson said he was writing with "an abiding sense of disbelief that a parent could behave in such a wicked and selfish way towards a vulnerable child."
The Associated Press contributed to this report