May 28, 2024

Damages awarded for unforeseen IVF twin

Lesbian couple sues in Canberra

Damages of A$317,000 have been awarded to a lesbian couple in the Australian capital of Canberra because their IVF treatment resulted in twins rather than one baby. The unnamed women had sued their obstetrician for implanting two embryos instead of the requested one. The ruling by a Court of Appeal overturned an earlier decision that the doctor had not breached his duty of care to the twins’ birth mother.

During the initial proceedings the mother said that she had lost her capacity to love because of the difficulty of raising two children instead of one. The couple’s relationship had also suffered.

In 2003 the High Court of Australia found that parents could claim damages for raising an unplanned child. The states of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia then passed laws to prevent damages for a "wrongful birth". But Canberra is in a different jurisdiction.

The couple’s lawyer said the twins were loved and wanted. "That has never been the issue," she told The Australian. "They did not wish to get rid of the children. The problem was they went to a health professional and asked for something particular and they got something else." The damages includes $234,600 for the cost of raising the extra child, including education at a private Steiner school. ~ Australian, Feb 14; Canberra Times, Feb 13