A British man who sued a fertility clinic after it gave his donated sperm to same-sex couples without his permission has won a five-figure settlement.
Neil Gaskell began donating to Manchester’s Care Fertility Clinic in 2010, in exchange for a discount on he and his wife’s own IVF treatments.
He said the clinic staff told him his sperm was “superman-strength” with “unusually high motility,” making him an ideal donor.
However, he stipulated in his consent form he wanted his donated sperm given to heterosexual couples only.
The UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) found in a 2016 audit Gaskell’s sperm had gone to three same-sex couples who had five children.
Gaskell also discovered he had fathered four kids belonging to single mothers, which he also disagreed with.
Despite the HFEA rules allowing only 10 recipients from a single sperm donor, Gaskell’s sperm went to 11 families to father 13 children.
He claims the clinic told him it would be more likely two or three children only.
Sperm donor gets five-figure settlement after lawsuit
He then launched a four-year legal battle against the clinic before settling on a five-figure amount, the Daily Mirror reported.
“I accept some people will find it uncomfortable but I wanted any children born from my sperm to have a mother and a father,” he said.
“I accept what I said will be divisive. But these children are what matters the most.
“A lot of people will strongly agree with me, a lot will strongly disagree.
“I didn’t want them being questioned. I didn’t want people making comments like ‘Where’s your dad?’ or ‘Why do you have two mums?’
“It takes a man and a woman to create a child. You can’t argue with millions of years of biology.”
Gaskell added that he accepts his views are “divisive” but claims he’s not “homophobic”.
He said finding out in 2016 about the “overwhelming” number of children left him depressed. He said his relationship with his wife later broke down as a result.
Gaskell said he is looking forward to meeting the children but has “no idea how many, if any” will eventually contact him.
He said he also has to explain the situation to his own children but it was also important to him how the other children feel.
UK’s Equality Act prohibits discrimination against same-sex couples
One of the lesbian mums told the Mirror she “didn’t understand” Gaskell’s stance.
“What matters is that the child has got a home and they are loved,” she said.
In the UK, the Equality Act prohibits discrimination against protected groups, including same-sex couples.
The HFEA said the clinic should not have accepted Gaskell’s donations because his views went against the laws.
A Care Fertility spokesperson said the clinic believes “family is for everyone”.
“Our teams dedicate their lives to helping people have a baby,” they said.
“Whether you are a heterosexual or same-sex couple, we know that love makes a family.
“We’re committed to helping all our patients achieve the joy of parenthood with compassion and personal treatment.
“Sperm donors are also valued and respected for enabling children to be born into a loving and supportive environment.”
The clinic said the HFEA independently regulates their work and errors are “exceptionally rare” and always reported.
An HFEA spokesperson said the clinic has “learned lessons” after the investigation into the case.
“Sperm donation has lifelong implications and therefore all licensed fertility clinics must provide donors with relevant information to ensure fully informed decisions,” they said.
“The clinic now ensures [that they conduct] all treatments in line with our Code of Practice and the Equality Act 2010.
“[This ensures] no one receiving treatment is discriminated against because of a protected characteristic, including sexual orientation.”
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