06 June 2011
ByAppeared in BioNews 610
A man who froze his sperm at a fertility clinic over ten years ago has spoken of his distress after finding out his ex-wife had tricked the clinic into using the sperm, resulting in the birth of two children. He was then ordered by a court to pay £100,000 towards their upbringing.
The 57-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stored his sperm at the Bourn Hall fertility clinic in Cambridge in 1999 while undergoing treatment for arthritis which could have left him infertile.
The couple divorced in June 2000 but the woman allegedly approached the clinic and forged his signature, allowing doctors to create embryos using his sperm. After giving birth to a girl in 2001, she reportedly returned to the clinic in 2003 and then gave birth to a boy.
The man, who has since remarried and has two other children, said he found out after receiving a text message from his ex-wife saying the girl wanted to see her father.
'I was stunned when I found out she had withdrawn my sperm without my consent because at the time we had split up and were going through a divorce', he said. 'It was a deliberate act to bring two children into this world without a father to look after them. I was never at the clinic and I never signed the documents'.
A court in 2007 ordered him to pay £100,000 to his ex-wife since the initial divorce settlement did not take the children into consideration. He says he has spent over £200,000 in legal fees battling with his ex-wife.
'I love the children and spend money on taking them out and buying them clothes, but it is an expense I shouldn't really have. The cost of this has been huge', he said. 'It is scary to think how little control I had over it all. I just can't understand how they believed her. The stress of it all has turned my life upside down'.
The man said when the children asked their mother where they came from she told them, 'the freezer'. His daughter asked to see her father and the man is permitted regular home visits.
His ex-wife said: 'I don’t believe I have done anything wrong. It was getting later and later for me and I wanted to have a child. If I had not done it then I would not be blessed with my children. I have no regrets'.