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A father is suing a Harley Street fertility clinic for £1 million, claiming that his ex-partner secretly conceived his child after they had split up.
He wants a payout to cover the “financial burden” of raising his six-year-old daughter — including money for a private education, a nanny, skiing holidays to Canada and an eight-seater Land Rover Discovery.
He believes that doctors at Hammersmith Hospital were tricked in October 2010 into impregnating his former partner using a frozen egg fertilised by his sperm.
The procedure happened five months after the couple ended their “volatile and rancorous” relationship. They are in their forties but cannot be identified for legal reasons.
The High Court heard the couple had already had a son together using IVF, and had more eggs and sperm stored at the west London clinic. It is run by IVF Hammersmith Limited, which is based in Harley Street in Marylebone.
The father, who is now married, blames the clinic for impregnating his former partner without his knowledge and is bringing a £1 million damages claim for breach of contract.
He also believes she forged his signature on papers to secure the release of the fertilised eggs, paving the way for her to give birth in 2011.
Jeremy Hyam QC, representing the clinic, told the court that doctors were not to blame even if the father’s signature had been forged.
He said the father played a full part in the IVF process up to a matter of months before the final form was signed, and had even signed one form after the couple had separated.
Fertility medics were not informed that the couple had broken up until 18 months after the baby girl had been born, he said.
“We did not expect — nor are we to be faulted for not expecting — duplicity of this nature,” said Mr Hyam.
In the written claim presented to the court, Michael Mylonas QC, for the father, said: “In 2011 the claimant’s ex-partner gave birth to their daughter after her mother had forged the claimant’s signature in order to procure the thawing of one of their embryos.
“Written documentation signed by the former couple was supposed to put in place safeguards in relation to future treatment, including the thawing of embryos.
“In breach of those safeguards, the defendant allowed the embryo to be thawed and implanted.”
The father, who lives in a £1.3 million home in north London, argues he believed there was a “safeguard” clause in the agreement he signed with the clinic, that IVF would only take place with his consent after the couple split.
Mr Mylonas claimed the clinic were in breach of contract for not getting the father’s “informed consent” before proceeding.
Urging the judge to reject the claim, Mr Hyam said the clinic “took proper care to ascertain that his reasonable consent was obtained”.
The mother, who is a “teacher at a very good school”, is legally represented in court and denies forging the father’s signature. She is also facing a separate damages claim from the clinic.
The 10-day hearing, in front of Mr Justice Jay, continues.
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