Caroline Andrews helps to set new fertility case law in ‘X v Y v St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Centre for Reproductive Medicine’
Fertility clinics are one of the reasons why
more British couples are starting families. In fact, 78 licensed clinics
treated almost 50,000 women in 2013 alone, and the numbers are expected to
continue to rise. However, the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) has found that an alarming number of hopeful parents are facing hardships and
A recent audit by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) shows a considerable number of fertility clinics across England and Wales had significant issues with paperwork, including missing documents.
As a result, potential parents risked losing parenthood. However, our very own Associate Solicitor, Caroline Andrews led the case ‘X v Y v St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Centre for Reproductive Medicine’ which was ruled in favour of the intended second parent and subsequently secured their right to legally recognised parenthood.
During proceedings, a vital warning for those planning to use fertility treatment was issued by High Court judge, Mrs Justice Theis:
“The important message from this case is that any person considering fertility treatment should ensure they are, at the very least, familiar with what legal steps need to be taken prior to any such treatment, particularly concerning the issue of consent. This is because any failings by the clinic to follow the requisite procedures may have long-term consequences for them and any child born as a result of the treatment.”
This raises an important question; what are the necessary legal steps couples need to be aware of?
two individuals are already married or in a civil partnership, and the anonymous donor has consented to the conception, parenthood will
be granted automatically.
For couples that are not in a legally bound relationship, the conception must take place within a licensed clinic (in England or Wales) and both partners must also complete HFEA consent forms, including documents confirming consent and the key point is prior to the conception treatment.
This parent depending on the circumstances may also need to ensure they get a parental responsibility order or the declaration of parentage gets the birth certificate amended. Without this, sadly, a parent would legally be of no relevance to decisions about the child’s education, health or religion. Furthermore, this parent would have additional matters to take into account for care or contact with the child if the relationship broke down.
Thankfully, these cases are rare – however, it is very important for would-be parents to be aware of these steps to guarantee a presence within a child’s life.
Here at Giles Wilson, our
team strives to provide the best service available and are on-hand to offer
advice, guidance and representation. If you would like to speak with Caroline
Andrews – the leading local expert in fertility law – or any of our dedicated specialists, you can request a free
consultation or contact our team directly.