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Children ‘irredeemably harmed’ by parents’ legal battle

Two sisters born following sperm donation have been “irredeemably harmed” by years of legal wrangling between the same-sex couples involved, a High Court judge has declared in a recently published judgment.

A gay couple offered to donate sperm to lesbian friends who wanted children. As a result, two girls were born, who are now aged nine and 13.

The four people were only identified in the judgment as ‘Father 1’, ‘Father 2’, ‘Mother 1’, and ‘Mother 2’. The biological parents of both girls were Father 1 and Mother 1.

Tensions arose when the two men applied for contact with the children, which the mothers opposed. This led to a lengthy legal battle over six years between the two couples, which Mr Justice Cobb said had “irredeemably harmed” the daughters.

The judge added that what started as a “wonderful endeavour of creating a family” between “friends and collaborators” had descended into “mutual distrust and reciprocal aversion” between the couples.

He also said the case demonstrated the potential pitfalls of parents who use informal arrangements to help them conceive.

Sitting in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Justice Cobb ruled that the girls would continue to live with their mothers despite allegations of domestic abuse between the couple. Their care of the children would be overseen by social workers and the fathers were allowed a limited amount of contact with the girls. They would be allowed to see the youngest in person, but they were restricted to writing to the eldest as she had objected to seeing them.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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