The London Gynaecology and Fertility Centre, run by infertility specialist Ian Craft, settled a unique High Court claim last week over the unauthorised use of frozen sperm. Austrian businessman Michael von Schonberg sued the clinic after learning that his former girlfriend had given birth to a daughter, after using his sperm without telling him.
Hours before the court hearing was due to start, Mr Schonberg accepted a confidential settlement. In his writ, he claimed that he had suffered distress, indignation and anxiety as a result of the clinic's actions. He also claimed that he was never told his semen would be frozen and preserved, reported the Daily Mail on 8 February.
Mr von Schonberg's relationship with the child's mother, Andrea Sladek, began in 1988, and lasted until 1994. He claimed they met again in February 1995, when she asked him to provide blood and semen samples for testing because of fertility problems she was having.
According to Mr von Schonberg, the clinic assured him his sperm would not be used for IVF (in vitro fertilisation) treatment, only the tests. But his sperm was later used in fertility treatment for Mrs Sladek, who gave birth to a daughter, Eve, in June 1996. In its defence, the clinic claimed Mr von Schonberg had signed a consent form allowing his sperm to be frozen and stored.
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Victory for father whose frozen sperm was 'stolen'