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Man wins £40,000 in damages after wife tricks him into believing IVF baby is his

23 March 2015
Appeared in BioNews 795

A lecturer from London has been awarded nearly £40,000 in damages after his businesswoman ex-wife deceived him for over six years into believing that he was the biological father of her IVF-born son.

The couple travelled to a Spanish IVF clinic in 2004 for fertility treatment, where the man gave a sample of his sperm. However, the woman returned to the clinic with her ex-boyfriend a few months later, without her husband, where she underwent treatment using her ex-boyfriend's sperm. The child was born in late 2005, and the couple filed for divorced six months later.

Following the divorce, the man continued to look after the child when his ex-wife was working and had paid more than £80,000 in maintenance over the following years. He found out that he was not the biological father of the child in 2011, after the woman revealed the truth during a dispute over the amount of contact the man was having with the child. This was later confirmed with a DNA test.

Thomas Brudenell, the lawyer representing the man, who cannot be named, told the court that the claimant had suffered 'distress and humiliation' after being told the truth.

However, the woman, who has also not been named, argued in court that the man was aware from the very beginning that he was 'not necessarily' the child's biological father, and that he knew about her trip to the clinic with her ex-boyfriend. She also said she had never told him that he was the child's biological father.

The court also heard that the couple's marriage was in difficulties before their visit to the IVF clinic, and that they had drawn up an agreement under which the man would not have the 'normal' financial responsibility for any child. Brudenell argued that this agreement had 'upset' the woman, while the woman questioned whether any 'normal, loving, caring, husband' would have 'forced his wife' to sign such an agreement.

Judge Deborah Taylor ruled in favour of the man, finding the woman's evidence 'highly improbable and inconsistent'. She found the woman liable for 'deliberate fraudulent misrepresentation', and awarded the man £40,000 in damages for the distress suffered, loss of earnings and compensation for the maintenance he had paid.

'I don't regret any of the time I spent with my child at all. I don't regret that ever', the man told BBC Radio 4.  'But when someone actually comes along years later and spoils everything that way, you're revisiting all those experiences thinking, that wasn't right was it, and not for [the child] either'.

He has also expressed his wish to see the child again, after losing almost all contact with the child following a separate court case. 'I live in hope that when he is 18 he looks for me… and [will] be part of my life again…. He is truly missed'.

9 October 2017 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A man has lost his claim for damages against a London IVF clinic for failing to obtain his consent for the use of embryos created with his former partner...
2 November 2015 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A judge in Atlanta, USA, has thrown out a case brought against a sperm bank for misrepresenting the medical and social history of a donor...
6 October 2014 - by Chee Hoe Low 
A woman is suing a sperm bank in Ohio, USA, after she became pregnant with sperm from the wrong donor...
13 January 2014 - by Ari Haque 
A couple who used artificial insemination services at a Utah fertility clinic have found out that their daughter, Ashley, is in fact the genetic daughter of a former clinic worker...
4 March 2013 - by Tom Barrow 
A man from Louisiana is attempting to sue a fertility clinic after accusing his ex-girlfriend of stealing his stored gametes. Layne Hardin has alleged that former partner Tobie Devall 'bluffed' her way into obtaining two vials of his sperm, which she was inseminated with....
4 February 2013 - by Ari Haque 
Ottawa fertility doctor Norman Barwin has been suspended from practising medicine for two months after artificially inseminating women with the wrong sperm. Five women were involved in four incidents of receiving the wrong sperm between 1986 and 2007....
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