13 December 1999
ByAppeared in BioNews 038
Two of UK's leading fertility specialists clashed at the High Court last week in a landmark case in which a woman is seeking damages to pay for a surrogate birth. Forty-six year old Patricia Briody is claiming compensation from Helens & Knowsley Health Authority over a medical blunder that left her childless and infertile at the age of 20. The health authority was found negligent last year by a high court judge and the current high court hearing is to determine the amount of damages. Ms Briody, who has already found a Californian woman willing to act as the surrogate, will make history if she wins her claim for compensation for suffering and the means to start a new family. Appearing for the health authority, Professor Robert Winston said: 'We shouldn't be trying to procure pregnancy at all costs...The truth is that there are alternatives, and one of the alternatives is to come to terms with childlessness...When you go on trying there's a risk of causing greater damage rather than less in terms of disappointment.' But an expert witness for Ms Briody, Professor Ian Craft, director of the London Fertility Centre in Harley Street, said he would happy to carry out the treatment if she succeeded with her claim. Professor Craft examined Ms Briody and her partner and approved them for IVF surrogacy. The hearing continues.