A British couple, who conceived following fertility treatment, have been told they must adopt their own baby after the mother failed to tick a box.
The couple, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had successful treatment at the Hewitt Fertility Centre in 2009, before an audit in 2014 found that a box which gave her partner legal guardian rights of the baby had not been ticked.
The error was discovered by the clinic back in August 2014, but the couple only found out the following March, according to the Mirror. They were then told they could start proceedings to adopt their child.
However, the parents took the case to court, where Mr Justice Peter Jackson rued they were the legal parents, before adding that the lack of a tick was “nothing more than an understandable error.”
“The distress caused by an unnecessary mistake of this kind cannot be overstated,” the judge said.
“It has caused this couple, like others in their position, well over a year of anxiety and led them into completely needless legal proceedings.”
“The absence of no more than a centimetre of ink in a tick box is nothing more than an understandable error.
“The failure to spot it was highly regrettable, but I have no hesitation in finding that the consent required by the statute was given, albeit that the form itself was incompletely completed.”
Describing it as an accident waiting to happen, Mr Justice Jackson asked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to consider if the part of the form was “not in fact superfluous at best and a potential trap at worst.”
“All that said, this was treatment that was professionally provided in all other respects and has led to the happiest of outcomes. I therefore bring the proceedings to an end with pleasure.”
Commenting on the case, a spokeswoman for Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust apologised before adding they have offered the couple support.
“Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust is extremely sorry for our failure to ensure that a consent form was correctly completed in the course of a couple’s fertility treatment at the Hewitt Fertility Centre in 2009. We contacted the couple involved to apologise and offer them support.
"This has included assistance with legal costs to enable the non-birth partner to become the child’s legal parent."