A father whose ex forged his signature on an IVF form to secretly have their baby has spoken of his ‘profound guilt’ over his feelings towards the child.
The man, who lost a High Court claim for £1million to pay for the girl’s upbringing, said he sometimes struggles to hug the child after her birth caused ‘so much pain’.
But the man also spoke of his desire to see his ‘beautiful’ daughter, who is now aged six, have the best start in life and said he felt a strong ‘moral duty’ towards her.
A man (left) sued a fertility clinic which was tricked by his ex (right) into impregnating her with his sperm. A judge found she had forged his signature on an IVF form but denied him compensation. Neither the father nor mother can be identified for legal reasons
His former wife tricked doctors at fertility clinic IVF Hammersmith into impregnating her with a frozen egg fertilized by his sperm.
The man, who has since married another woman, told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: ‘It is a very difficult situation for my wife and I.
‘On the one hand, she is a beautiful child – intelligent, lovely and happy.
‘But it is a child that has represented so much pain and suffering for us and there are times when I find it impossible to reach out and hug her. I just have this inner block.
‘Then at the same time I am filled with this profound sense of guilt, and it is an extremely challenging thing to try and reconcile those extremely difficult feelings.
‘It’s upsetting, it’s disrupting, it hurts my wife, which hurts me. But then there is this beautiful girl.
‘She is not responsible for her being so she needs the best opportunity in life and I fell not only a duty as a father but I feel a moral duty to do as much for her as I do for the other children in the family. It’s a very difficult position.’
The father, who must remain anonymous for legal reasons, also spoke of his continued feelings of anger towards his former wife.
‘It was my child and one that was conceived not even in the same county as me. It’s a boat from outer space,’ he said.
‘And how do you respond to that, it was not as if I had a one-night stand with somebody, I wasn’t even part of it.
‘We were in a relationship and that relationship ended and I was now in a new relationship.
‘And behind my back she went away and forged some documents and the clinic didn’t have adequate protections in place.’
The father sued the clinic for the costs of raising his daughter, now aged six, plus legal fees for a custody battle with her mother.
But a judge ruled yesterday that the daughter should be seen as a blessing to him and not be viewed as a ‘financial liability’.
Mr Justice Jay said children are a blessing and could not be seen as a ‘financial liability’ in the eyes of the law
Mr Justice Jay said he hoped his judgment would leave the reluctant father feeling ‘morally vindicated’, but said there were ‘public policy reasons’ why the claim had to fail.
Medics at the top fertility clinic owed a duty to ensure his consent was obtained before the fertilized eggs were used, but they had not been negligent, the judge found.
The judge said: ‘Although he has lost his case, my judgment must be seen as a complete personal and moral vindication for this father’.
The former couple, who are in their 40s but who cannot be identified for legal reasons, previously had a son together following treatment at the clinic.
But the court heard she later went back by herself after their ‘volatile and rancorous’ relationship ‘irretrievably broke down.’
The judge said she forged her ex’s signature to secure the release of the fertilized eggs without his say-so.
The mother, who works as a teacher, gave birth to a daughter in 2011, who the father now ‘understandably loves’, the court heard.
But the man, who has since married another woman, blamed the clinic for implanting the embryo into his ex without his knowledge.
He sued health bosses for the costs of raising his daughter, including the cost of her private education, funding for a nanny, ski holidays and an eight-seater Land Rover.
He told the court she had emailed him after their break-up, writing: ‘and by the way, I’m pregnant.’
The judge found the clinic, pictured, was tricked by the woman into providing the treatment
The man told the court: ‘My response was, Oh my God, how could this happen? I’d never agreed to get her pregnant.
‘My head was exploding. Can you imagine something like this happening?’ he asked the judge.
‘I was in a new relationship with a woman I loved very dearly. I thought: “Oh my God, this is going to destroy this relationship”.’
He added: ‘Then – here – I had a child coming. How could this happen? It was no joyous moment. We were barely on speaking terms.’
His QC, Michael Mylonas, argued her birth had placed on him ‘a financial burden which is not offset by any benefits.’
In his ruling today, Mr Justice Jay said the clinic owed him ‘an express obligation’ not to thaw and implant an embryo without his written consent.
But the clinic had not been negligent and had been ‘entitled to believe’ that the signature on the consent form was his.
The case, heard at London’s High Court (pictured), could now go to the Court of Appeal
After forging the signature, his ex had ‘at least given the impression’ to the clinic that having another child was their ‘common objective’.
Desperate to be a mother again, she had ‘resorted to desperate, dishonest measures’, the judge said.
The judge was ‘completely satisfied’ that the father did not want another child with her, had not given his informed consent, nor would he have done so had she kept him in the picture.
Rejecting his claim, however, the judge cited ‘legal policy objections’ to awards of compensation for the birth of healthy children.
He said the law views parenthood as a ‘benefit’ and that it is ‘morally unacceptable’ to regard children as a ‘financial liability’.
But Mr Justice Jay recognised the importance of the case, by granting the father permission to challenge his ruling in the Court of Appeal.