Imagine how you would feel if, after many years of trying with your partner for a child, possibly having considered various different options to have a family, you finally have your precious first child through IVF. You are then told that you or your partner are not recognised as the child’s legal parents.
It is hard to think of a more distressing scenario for new parents. Yet this is the situation that many UK couples have found themselves following IVF through a clinic with donated sperm.
The reason why? The clinic failed to ensure the correct paperwork was completed. The mistakes in the paperwork meant that the partners of the women who had been able to conceive using donated sperm were not legally recognised as the child’s legal parent.
The couples have therefore had to go through the extremely stressful process of applying to court to secure a declaration that says they are the legal parents. The needs to disclose personal matters during this process will no doubt have added further distress to the situation.
It is thought that 85 more couples will have to go to court in order to prove that they are the rightful legal parents of their children demonstrating the importance of taking legal advice at all the stages of having a child via IVF.
Children law, often referred to as child custody, is a complex area of law that is changing with the increase of non-traditional families in the UK.
Senior family Judge Sir James Munby in this case criticised the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which licenses the clinics where you can get IVF treatment in the UK, saying there was “widespread incompetence across the sector”.
Slater and Gordon’s Principal Family Lawyer Vicki McLynn commented saying, “This is a desperately sad situation that these families have found themselves in. Despite the fact that the IVF clinics are at fault here, this story highlights the importance of following the correct procedures in complicated alternative family situations. Children law is a complex area of law and in situations like these an expert Family Solicitor can help.”
The Child Custody Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers can support families at every stage of IVF treatment, adoption or surrogacy. To speak with us call freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online.