In Re R (Parental responsibility: IVF baby); D (A Child), Re: HL 12 May 2005

The parents had received IVF treatment together, but had separated before the child was born. The mother resisted an application by the father for a declaration of paternity.
Held: The father’s appeal failed. The Act made statutory provision as to the parentage of a child born through IVF. The mere participation of the father and consent at the early stage of treatment was not sufficient to count as participating in the treatment. He had not himself received any treatment. The mother had only told of her separation from the father and of her new relationship after the last and successful treatment. Whilst procedures might be tightened up, there was no effective safeguard against fraud. Lord Hope: ‘the question whether the treatment services were being provided for the woman and the man together at the relevant time simply raises a question of fact which must be determined by the judge in the light of all the evidence. The perspective of the clients is therefore to be treated as part of the relevant evidence. So too is the perspective of the provider of the services, as demonstrated by the records which the provider has kept as required by the licensing authority. Neither has any priority over the other in terms of the statute. Each is as vulnerable to human error, deceit, mistake or misunderstanding as the other. To elevate one over the other when the statute does not clearly require this would be to create an unnecessary gloss.’


Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe


[2005] UKHL 33, [2005] 2 WLR 1158, [2005] 2 AC 621, [2005] 4 All ER 433, [2005] 2 FCR 223


Bailii, House of Lords


Family Law Reform Act 1987 27, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 27(1) 28(2)


England and Wales


CitedU v W (Attorney-General Intervening) FD 4-Mar-1997
The restriction on the freedom to provide human fertility treatment to licensees of the Authority was not a breach of the EU treaty. There is a particular need for certainty in provisions affecting the status of a child. There is a mental element . .
CitedThe Ampthill Peerage Case HL 1977
There was a dispute about the legitimacy of an heir to the title. New evidence had been discovered after the trial.
Held: The House considered whether a new trial of an action might be ordered after discovery of new evidence: ‘The law knows, . .
Appeal fromIn re R (Parental responsibility: IVF baby) CA 19-Feb-2003
The mother and father of the child were not married, but had consented to the terms of their infertility treatment. The father donated his sperm, but the mother was only inseminated after they had separated. The mother appealed a declaration of . .
CitedQuintavalle v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority HL 28-Apr-2005
The parents of a boy suffering a serious genetic disorder sought IVF treament in which any embryo would be tested for its pre-implantation genetic status. Only an embryo capable of producing the stem cells necessary to cure the boy would be . .
Appeal from (second level)B and D v R FD 22-Feb-2002
The parties were unmarried but entered into IVF treatment together. They separated, but the mother continued with treatment, not telling the IVF center of the breakdown of the first relationship, and nor of her new relationship until after the . .
CitedRe B (Parentage) FD 1996
A mother applied for financial provision for her twin children under 1989 Act Sch 1. The father asked whether he was their parent within the Schedule. They had been born by artificial insemination. He accepted that he was the donor of the sperm and . .
CitedQuintavalle, Regina (on the Application of) v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority CA 16-May-2003
A licence was sought so that a couple could have a child who would be tissue typed to establish his suitability to provide an umbilical cord after his birth to help treat his future brother. A licence had been granted subject to conditions, and the . .

Cited by:

CitedAB v CD FD 24-May-2013
The Applicant AB, a lesbian woman aged 37, applied for contact to twin boys, E and F, aged 3. In making that application, she described herself as the boys’ ‘parent’; she ws so defined on the boys’ birth certificates. For the first 17 months of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 30 June 2022; Ref: scu.224853