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Fertility clinic mistakes: Important judgment on legal parenthood

A court has today decided that that it would not be right to deprive a child and parents of a legal relationship because of an administrative error that had been made with their paperwork. The President of the Family Division said that the important issue was that there was written and informed consent as required by the law.

The court heard that a significant number of parents across the UK, who have had a child by way of donor insemination, were told by the clinic that treated them that they are not a parent to their child because of an administrative error.

Jemma Dally represented six of the families involved in the case.

Jemma said:

“This judgment is about the essential question of who is my parent?   This is important for any child, but especially for donor conceived children who do not have a biological connection to one of their parents.

The President has confirmed that the important issue under the Act is that there is written and signed consent and that the consent was given on an informed basis.  He has also reminded clinics that it is imperative that parents who need to sign the necessary forms do so and that these forms are checked and double checked before any treatment commences.

It is essential that any parent in this situation seeks specialist legal advice.  There is a risk to children if proper steps are not taken to remedy the errors that have been made.   Legal parenthood is important for a child’s identity and if left unresolved could have profound consequences for the child in the future.”

Read the judgment here

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