Father fails in £1m claim against IVF clinic

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Oct 09, 2017
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The man sued a London clinic for accepting a forged signature

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A father has failed in his High Court action against a London IVF clinic over the conception of his child by his former partner.

The businessman sued IVF Hammersmith, a private clinic in London, for £1 million to help him pay for the bringing up of a child after his former partner forged his signature.

He claimed that the woman, known only as R, tricked doctors into impregnating her with a frozen egg fertilised by his sperm in October 2010. The father then claimed damages for the cost of the upkeep of the child, born the following summer.

However, on Friday the court ruled that while the woman forged his signature to use the frozen embryos, the fertility clinic had not been negligent. Sitting in the High Court, Mr Justice Jay said the father had succeeded on all issues “save the issue of legal policy. It follows that there must be judgment for the clinic on the claim.”

The judge added: “Although he has lost this case, my judgment must be seen as a complete personal and moral vindication for (the father). The same, of course, cannot be said for (the woman).”

He granted the father permission to appeal.

The father, who is now married to another woman, had told the court that he loves his daughter despite the circumstances of her conception, but blames the clinic for implanting the embryo without his knowledge. 

He claimed that the impregnation occurred in October 2010, five months after the couple’s “volatile and rancorous” relationship “irretrievably broke down”. The former couple, who are in their 40s but who cannot be identified for legal reasons, also previously had a son together using IVF.

The father welcomed the ruling, which he said had “found in our favour in respect of all issues relating to our primary case. This claim has never been about money; it is about justice. 

“We felt compelled to bring to public attention the catastrophic failings of the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority and the unacceptable conduct of fertility clinics, which have grown into multi-million pound businesses on the back of sharp practices.”

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