[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 08:58 GMT
IVF baby has no father
The mother of a test tube child has won her court fight to end her former partner's status as the girl's legal father in a landmark ruling.

Two years ago the man lost his legal right to see the girl following a court battle.

And now the Court of Appeal has ruled that he can no longer be considered the child's father.

The man, aged 40, can have no natural children of his own for medical reasons and, even though the girl bears none of his genes, he sees her as his only chance of fatherhood.

Second attempt

Before their relationship broke down, the couple from Merseyside attended an IVF clinic and both signed forms to authorise the use of anonymous donor sperm.

The first attempts at conceiving were a failure, and the couple parted.

But a year later the women went back for a second try using embryos stored from the first treatment.

This time the IVF treatment worked, and the woman gave birth to a daughter three years ago.

By this time she was living with another man.

However, her original partner set a precedent as the first man to be confirmed by the courts as the father of an IVF and donor sperm baby because he signed the original consent form.

But High Court judge Mr Justice Hedley also ruled against his application for parental responsibility and immediate contact - saying he would have to wait until the girl was three years old before meeting her.

And now the Court of Appeal has overturned the judgement on paternity too.


Lady Justice Hale said the section of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act dealing with the definition of "father" makes it clear that legal paternity is created at the time when the embryo or the sperm and eggs which result in a birth are placed in the woman.

She said Mr Justice Hedley had interpreted the Act to mean that the provisions of services continues until either party or the clinic withdraws from the understanding that the couple are being treated together.

If the mother had not misled the clinic about her partner, treatment would have had to stop and fresh assessments be made to comply with the law, she said.

None of the parties involved can be identified to protect the child.



Battle over IVF baby parentage
06 Feb 03 |  Health
Man loses battle over IVF baby
14 Feb 01 |  UK News

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific