A teenager who was born following donor fertilisation has been told she must stay in touch with her father and his partner, even though she was does not wish to do so.
The girl, now 14, has been the subject of courtroom battles between her biological mother and father, and their respective partners, since she was just seven, The Guardian reports.
She and her younger sister were both born following donor insemination. They live with their mother and her civil partner in London. Her biological father, meanwhile, is in a civil partnership with a man. Litigation between the sets of couples began as long ago as 2008. The two men sough the right to see the 14 year-old but she was unwilling, and the mothers supported her stance.
The two girls claimed the years of “extraordinary” legal wrangling had affected their childhoods and they blamed the father and his partner entirely for this. The two men have not seen either girl for years.
At a High Court hearing in London, a lawyer representing the teenager sought to persuade the Judge to allow the her to make her own decisions regarding contact.
But Mr Justice Cobb was unpersuaded, declaring it would be in the girl’s best interests to have a “limited” relationship with her father despite her current reluctance.
The Judge expressed respect for the 14 year-old’s “well-developed autonomy and independent thinking” but he still insisted that she would benefit from a “modest relationship” with her father and granted him and his civil partner permission to send letters, greetings cards and gifts.
The girls had “promising futures” and well looked after by their mothers, he added. “The significant void in their lives is the lack of any meaningful relationship with their fathers.”
Mr Justice Cobb declared:
“… the fathers have something of real value and importance to add to the lives of the girls.”
The judgement is available here.