National / Crime & Legal

Man sues to relinquish responsibility for child born to ex-wife using IVF egg without his consent

Kyodo

A man filed a lawsuit arguing that he should bear no responsibility for his child after his estranged wife was impregnated without his permission using fertilized eggs stored by a clinic, court documents showed Wednesday.

The 45-year-old man filed the lawsuit with the Nara Family Court in October, seeking to confirm that he has no parental relationship with the now almost 2-year-old girl. But his wife, whom he later divorced, argued during a court session in December that there are no legal grounds for the man to deny his paternity in these circumstances.

The man has said he plans to seek compensation from the clinic for transferring the fertilized eggs to his former wife, 45, without his consent. The head of the clinic in the city of Nara admitted to having done so, according to the lawsuit.

The clinic may have violated the code of ethics formulated by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which calls for medical personnel to seek the consent of the couple before an egg transplantation.

The couple, who got married in 2004, began fertility treatment from around 2009 and their eldest son was born in November 2011 through the transplantation of fertilized eggs. The couple, however, separated around October 2013.

In 2014, the woman underwent another procedure to transplant the fertilized eggs, which had been preserved in a frozen state before the couple’s separation. She gave birth to a girl in April 2015 before the couple divorced in October 2016, according to the lawsuit.

The clinic insisted in a statement that because the couple had not requested the disposal of the eggs, it had assumed the transplant had both parents’ approval.

“They had also paid money to preserve the eggs and we had thought that the delivery was the couple’s will,” the statement said.