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Ex-husband awarded £100,000 after he was tricked into believing IVF baby was his

Ex-husband awarded £100,000 after he was tricked into believing IVF baby was his

An unnamed lecturer has won a legal battle in the Central London County Court against his former wife, after it transpired that she had tricked him into believing that the IVF baby conceived whilst they were still married was his. After his ex-wife was ordered to pay his costs, the total amount awarded to him reached nearly £100,000.

The man, who is understood to be in his sixties, met his ex-wife in 1998, and the couple married four years later, in 2002. Although experiencing some marital difficulties, in 2004 the couple decided to try and have a baby. As the lecturer had previously had a vasectomy, the couple visited a fertility clinic together. At the clinic in Barcelona, the couple was advised to use a donor egg and the lecturer believed his sperm was to be used. However, following an argument, his wife secretly decided to use her ex-partner’s sperm, when she returned to the clinic for a second visit.

After a routine telephone call from the clinic, the lecturer became suspicious about his wife’s behaviour, but when he confronted her, she broke down in tears and reassured him that she only wanted to have a child with him.

The court heard how on discovering that his wife had fallen pregnant, the lecturer felt “overwhelming relief”, as he believed that the baby would bring happiness back into the marriage. However in 2005, when their son was just 6 months old, the couple split.

“It’s hard to imagine a more cruel deceit”

After the couple divorced, the lecturer maintained contact with his son, looking after the child when his estranged wife was working away, and additionally he provided maintenance payments. In 2011, a dispute broke out when the lecturer sought an increased number of contact hours. His ex-wife then “dropped the bombshell” that he was not the biological father. A DNA test confirmed the lecturer’s lack of paternity.

The lecturer brought his case to court seeking damages for the “distress and humiliation” he had suffered. He also sought to recover some of the maintenance he had paid, along with compensation for loss of earnings. The court was told how the lecturer had contacted the clinic to be assured of his paternity and how it later emerged that his ex-wife had taken her former partner to the clinic, failing to tell medical staff that the man with her was not her husband. Despite this, the lecturer’s ex-wife argued that there had been no deceit, fraud or misrepresentation.

Hearing the case, Judge Deborah Taylor described the child’s mother as an “untruthful witness”, concluding that her account of events was “highly improbable and inconsistent”. She found her guilty of “deliberate, fraudulent misrepresentation” and said “she presented herself as a victim of circumstances, rather than a participant…it’s hard to imagine a more cruel deceit”.

The lecturer was awarded damages for his distress but said he “truly misses” his son. As he has almost entirely lost contact with the child, the lecturer said:

“I live in hope that when he is 18 he looks for me, and I and my family can show him how much we loved him and he can be part of our lives again”.

Condemning the actions of his ex-wife he said: “Not only did my ex-wife commit the deceit but she misled her own child too. I can’t imagine what my then “son” must have felt to have had a loving father substituted by another man – how can she (and he) sleep at night?”

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