Two German gynaecologists will have to pay child support for twins after they artificially inseminated the mother without obtaining the father's permission to use his sperm, which he had asked to be destroyed two years earlier.
The twins, a boy and a girl, were born in November 2007 in Dortmund, western Germany. The father took the doctors to court after he found out about the pregnancy, describing the events as 'semen theft'.
The 40-year-old packaging designer agreed to have his sperm frozen in 2004 when the couple were still together. He signed a contract that allowed it to be kept in the clinic for a year.
But the sample was not destroyed and instead was used to inseminate the woman despite the fact that her relationship with the father had 'essentially come to an end', the man told the judge. 'At that time I had no wish to have children', he added.
'It was agreed that the sample would be destroyed after a year', Judge Gisela Kothe-Pawel outlined in the case notes. 'We are convinced that the man had no idea that it was going to be used at this point for an artificial insemination procedure'.
He could not explain in court as to why his former partner had gone ahead with the procedure, and added that he had only seen his two children, who are now five years old, once since they were born.
The doctors explained in court that as they had only ever had patients who were fulfilling an often long unfulfilled dream to have children, they had never thought such a problem could arise. If they want to appeal the regional court ruling, they will have to take the case to the national Federal Court.
The pair now have to pay the legal minimum amount of child support until the twins turn 18.