Japan court rules father legally responsible for secret IVF child

A Japanese court has ruled a father legally responsible for a child who was born after his ex-partner impregnated herself with a frozen embryo without his knowledge.

The man conceded he was the biological father of the two-year-old girl.

But he disputed his legal paternity status because he had no say in whether she would be born.

Although the couple had separated a year and a half before the girl was born, they were still married.

The man had already fathered a son by in-vitro fertilisation with his then-partner.

After the couple split, the mother then chose to become pregnant with a frozen embryo.

The man filed a lawsuit in an attempt to void the parental relationship.

But the court in Nara Prefecture ruled that, under Japanese law, the husband is presumed to be the father if the wife falls pregnant during the marriage – and the fact that they were separated did not matter.

The Japan Times reports that clinic staff told the court they assumed both parents consented to the second pregnancy, because they had not requested for the frozen embryo to be disposed of.

The couple have since divorced.

About Elise Weatherall

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