Couples who used sperm donors to conceive have had their parental status called into question after “widespread incompetence” in the sector was revealed in court.
Handing down a ruling in the family division of the high court, where seven couples were battling to establish a legal declaration that they were the legal parents of their offspring, judge Sir James Munby said that some couples were suffering problems due to failings in the system.
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It has emerged that consent forms, which are signed by couples who are not married or in a civil partnership to ensure legal parentage before treatment begins, had not been properly completed by the clinics involved. Sir James, president of the family division of the high court, said that these failures painted an “alarming and shocking” picture of the industry. Referring to a 2013 audit of the UK’s 109 fertility clinics which found 51 paperwork “anomalies” in clinical records that could cast doubt on the legal status of parents, he said there was “widespread incompetence across the sector”.