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Fertility Clinic’s Blunder Caused Nightmare for Same-Sex Parents

Administrative mistakes are as inevitable as death and taxes but, in the context of fertility treatment, the consequences can be very serious indeed. In one case, a clinic’s form-filling error caused enormous distress to same-sex parents of twins and had to be put right by the High Court.

The two women – one of them the twins’ biological mother, having donated her eggs, and the other the ‘gestational’ parent, having given birth to them – had paid the clinic more than £15,000 for IVF treatment. They were delighted with their children and registered their births before they realised that anything had gone wrong.

They were extremely angry and shocked when informed by the clinic that they had signed the wrong consent forms. The biological mother had filled in the form meant for the gestational mother, and vice versa. The mistake meant that the biological mother was not entitled to legal recognition as a parent to the twins.

The women had separated since the births but remained deeply committed to the twins. The clinic had admitted its error and the gestational mother wholeheartedly supported her ex-partner’s equal rights as a parent. The Court accepted that that had been their intention from the outset. In those circumstances, it had no hesitation in rectifying the mistake and formally recognising the biological mother as a parent to the twins.

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