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England and Wales High Court (Family Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Family Division) Decisions >> N, Re  EWHC 1329 (Fam) (08 June 2016)
Cite as:  2 FLR 6,  EWHC 1329 (Fam),  Fam Law 1090
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Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
|In the Matter of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008|
Hearing date: 27 May 2016
Crown Copyright ©
Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division :
i) The treatment which led to the birth of the child was embarked upon and carried through jointly and with full knowledge by both the woman (that is, Y) and her partner (X).
ii) From the outset of that treatment, it was the intention of both Y and X that X would be a legal parent of the child. Each was aware that this was a matter which, legally, required the signing by each of them of consent forms. Each of them believed that they had signed the relevant forms as legally required and, more generally, had done whatever was needed to ensure that they would both be parents.
iii) From the moment when the pregnancy was confirmed, both Y and X believed that X was the other parent of the child. That remained their belief when the child was born.
iv) X and Y, believing that they were entitled to, and acting in complete good faith, registered the birth of their child, as they believed the child to be, showing both of them on the birth certificates as the child's parents, as they believed themselves to be.
v) The first they knew that anything was or might be 'wrong' was when, about a year later, they were contacted by the clinic.
vi) X's application to the court is, as I have said, wholeheartedly supported by Y.
"I am not married to [name] but I acknowledge that she and I are being treated together and that I will take appropriate action to become the legal father of any resulting child."
Below this there was the following Note:
"NOTE: The centre is not required to obtain a partner's acknowledgement in order to make the treatment lawful, but … it is advisable in the interests of establishing the legal parenthood of the child."
A final matter
"The underlying message was clear. Clinics should have been supporting and assisting parents. They have an obligation to be open and transparent – most particularly with those whose parenthood was potentially disturbed by administrative incompetence. The parents were (and are) the individuals in most need of advice and assistance; they are entitled to and should have been treated with respect and proper concern."
I repeat what I said I have said previously (Case G, para 33), I agree with every word of that. Pauffley J went on to criticise in particular the tardiness of the clinic in that case in disclosing the relevant patient files to the parents.