Man wins ‘baby deceit’ damages bid


Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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A lecturer who says his businesswoman wife deceived him into thinking that he was the father of the son she gave birth to following fertility treatment has won a damages fight.

The man had claimed that without his knowledge the child was created with the use of sperm provided by a former boyfriend – and was today awarded about £40,000 by a judge.

He said she dropped the ”bombshell” when the child, now nine, was five.

The woman, now divorced from the man, said there was ”no merit” in the damages claim.

She said she always thought that the man knew that he was ”not necessarily” the little boy’s father.

Judge Deborah Taylor analysed the case at a hearing at the Central London County Court earlier this week and ruled today.

She was told that the case is thought to be the first of its kind.

The judge said nothing could be published which would reveal the identity of the boy at the centre of proceedings. She said the man and woman should be referred to as ”X” and ”Y”.

The judge was told that the man was in his 60s, the woman was in her 50s. T he man and woman lived in different parts of the London area. The man also had family links to Bolton, Lancashire.

Judge Taylor heard that the couple married in 2002.

In 2004 they had travelled to a clinic in Barcelona, Spain, for IVF treatment and the man had given a sample of his sperm.

A few months later the woman returned to the clinic without the man and travelled instead with a former boyfriend.

Barrister Thomas Brudenell, who represented the man, said during the later visit the woman was impregnated with her former boyfriend’s sperm.

The little boy was born in late 2005 and when he was around six months old the couple separated.

Divorce proceedings began and their divorce was finalised in 2008.

Mr Brudenell said the man looked after the child when the woman was working and paid more than £80,000 in maintenance over the following few years.

In 2011 a dispute arose over the amount of contact he was having with the youngster – and the woman then told him that he was not the ”biological father”. Shortly afterwards that was confirmed when he took a DNA test.

The woman told the judge that she had never told the man he was the father and said she had hidden nothing.

She told the judge that her ex-husband knew ”from the very first day” that she had been to the clinic with her ex-boyfriend.

The woman said there had been no deceit, no fraud and no misrepresentation – and said she was “not guilty”.

Mr Brudenell told the court that the man wanted damages for ”distress and humiliation”, damages to cover the amount he had paid in maintenance, and compensation for loss of earnings. He said the man’s work had suffered and his income dropped because he was ”shattered”.

Judge Taylor has heard that the couple’s marriage was in difficulty around the time the woman had IVF treatment.

Mr Brudenell told her that they had drawn up an agreement under which he would not have the ”normal” financial responsibility for any child.

He said it seemed that the agreement had ”upset” the woman.

The woman had asked whether any ”normal, loving, caring, husband” would have ”forced his wife” to sign an agreement such as the one she signed.

”He didn’t want to go back (to the Spanish clinic),” she said. ”The only reason I took (my ex-boyfriend) was because my ex-husband gave me that document to sign.”

Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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