A dad has won a five-figure settlement from an IVF clinic after his sperm was given to same-sex couples and single mums against his wishes.
Neil Gaskell, 49, took legal action after discovering his ‘superman-strength’ sperm was used to conceive nine children to single and gay parents. He believes youngsters should only be raised by a mum and a dad.
He agreed to be a donor at Care Fertility clinic in April 2010, but insisted his sperm should only be used to help heterosexual couples.
But the Manchester clinic reportedly admitted five children had been born to three same-sex couples – including a set of twins.
Neil, who has three kids of his own via IVF, also unwittingly fathered four children with three single women after ‘mistakes had been made’, reports claim.
A further four infants were born to heterosexual couples, making 13 children in total.
Neil said he was left ‘shocked and numb’ after discovering the blunders, which he described as a ‘huge betrayal’.
He won the payout after launching a four-year legal battle against the clinic, eventually settled out of court.
The donor insisted he was not ‘discriminating’ against same-sex couples and denied being a bigot. He told the Mail on Sunday: ‘You can’t argue with biology.
‘It takes a man and a woman to create a child, and it’s my view that if children are born with my sperm they must have a mother and a father.
‘I worried about how they’d be brought up, whether they’d be bullied in the playground, or about having two mums. I didn’t want that for my children. I accept that’s going to be divisive, but it’s how I feel.’
Neil says the clinic asked him to become a donor after telling him he had ‘superman-strength’ sperm with ‘unusually high motility’. In exchange, he and his now ex-partner were offered a discount on their next IVF treatment.
They agreed, after spending 14 years trying to conceive with 12 failed IVF attempts. After finally conceiving their three children, Neil said life was ‘perfect’.
But everything was ‘turned upside down’ when he got a phone call from the clinic in September 2016.
Neil told the Sunday Mirror: ‘They said something along the lines of “mistakes have been made” and they invited me in for a meeting.
‘I was numb, everything after that was a bit of a blur. I spent 14 years never expecting to be a father, now I’ve got 16 kids.’
The news was ‘overwhelming’ and destroyed his relationship, Neil said. He went on: ‘I would like to turn the clock back and wish this had never happened, but now the most important thing is how these children feel.
‘If they’ve had a great upbringing it would be music to my ears. But if they’ve had a tough time it would be heart-breaking.’
From October 2010 the Equality Act banned discrimination against specific protected groups, including same-sex couples.
Although Neil donated his sperm in April 2010, it was still against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) code of practice.
The HFEA confirmed the clinic should not have accepted him as a donor as his views were against the Act.
They added: ‘We are aware of the situation involving a clinic and former donor and a full investigation was carried out.
‘Lessons have been learned and the clinic now ensures that all treatments are conducted in line with our Code of Practice and the Equality Act 2010, to ensure that no one receiving treatment is discriminated against because of a protected characteristic, including sexual orientation.’
A spokesperson for Care Fertility clinic insisted errors are ‘exceptionally rare’ and ‘always reported to the regulator’.
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