Bioethics News

Sperm donor child ordered to develop relationship with father

The High Court of the UK has ordered a donor-conceived-girl to develop a relationship with her gay father – and his partner. The 14-year-old girl has been brought up since birth by her biological mother and her mother’s lesbian partner, but seven years ago her biological father petitioned the courts to have contact with her. 

In an extraordinary decision, High Court Justice Stephen Cobb ruled that the girl should have ‘indirect’ and ‘limited’ contact with her father, saying that “the significant void in their lives is the lack of any meaningful relationship with their fathers.”

The decision, the culmination of a long running legal battle between the girl’s biological mother and father, goes against the will of the daughter, who said that she wants “to draw her own conclusions” and believes that litigation has “ruined her life”. Justice Cobb disagreed:

“I remain clearly of the view that the fathers have something of real value and importance to add to the lives of the girls”.

He said the case illustrated the ‘immense difficulties’ which could be ‘unleashed’ when families were created by ‘known-donor fertilisation’. He ordered that the fathers would be allowed to contact the girls via letters or greeting cards at specific times of the year. The biological father of the children would also be given access to the girls’ annual school reports. 

This article is published by Xavier Symons and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.