Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Parents sue Belfast clinic after getting a mixed-race child

A white couple are suing a Belfast fertility clinic after an IVF blunder left them with a mixed-race baby.

The man and his wife, who wish to remain anonymous, claim their lives have been devastated by suggestions of extra-marital affairs.

In what is believed to the first case of its kind in the UK, they are seeking damages against the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust in a case expected to begin in September.

“I couldn’t love my children more than if I had fathered them myself," the father told the Daily Mail.

“They are gorgeous kids and I’d rather die than not have them, but this mistake has devastated our family and almost destroyed our marriage.

“We can’t go out together because people openly stare at us.

“My wife has been asked if she’s had an affair with an Indian man on holiday. In public, she’ll shrug it off. But in private, she’s often in tears.”

The 47-year-old businessman and his 46-year-old wife started treatment at the Regional Fertility Centre at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital in 1998.

Although they requested “white Caucasian” donor sperm, the woman was fertilised with “Caucasian cape coloured” sperm and gave birth to a dark-skinned boy, now aged 10.

The sperm is South African in origin and is a mixture of white, black and Malay, which means children born from it can be either black or white.

Although the couple’s daughter, born three years earlier and conceived through the same batch of fertilised eggs, was born light-skinned her brother is dark-skinned.

The clinic apologised to the couple in October 2003 but the couple have fought a long protracted case for damages.

The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is expected to argue that the blunder was the result of a mislabelling of the sperm about four years before the treatment.

A spokesman said: “Because legal proceedings are pending we are not in a position to comment.”

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