Fertiliy clinics warn men on dangers of stored embryos
Men who have created embryos with their partners have been warned to alert fertility clinics if their relationship ends after a woman used embryos created with her estranged husband to have two children without his knowledge.
The woman in question allegedly forged her husband’s signature on consent forms after they separated so she could have the frozen embryos implanted into her womb.
She had two children from two separate pregnancies using the embryos.
Her husband only found out about the alleged deception when one child fell seriously ill and he was contacted by a family member. He has since sought legal advice about suing Bourn Hall Clinic, where his ex-wife was allegedly treated.
A spokesman for The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said the case highlighted the responsibility men had to let clinics know if their status changed and they wanted to remove their consent.
‘There’s an onus on the man himself. If you have got embryos in storage and you change your mind you need to let the clinic know,’ he said.
Clinics only need written consent from a man to use embryos created with his sperm. However, consent to use frozen embryos can be withdrawn at any time the man chooses.
Bourn Hall Clinic, however, have now changed their policy. Dr Thomas Matthews, its medical director, said: ‘There has been at least one case where a woman deceived us into implanting embryos without her husband’s consent.
‘We now photograph every couple at the first visit and check their photographic identity at every subsequent visit.’