A Scottish Court ruled last month that a man whose sperm may have been damaged as a result of negligence, claim for damages should proceed to trial (Holdich v Lothian Health Board )
The claimant deposited his sperm at the storage facility in the 1990s following a diagnosis of cancer. Almost a decade later in 2001, the claimant sought to use the sperm and undergo IVF treatment with his wife. The defendant health authority subsequently informed the claimant that owing to a leak of liquid nitrogen the sperm may have been damaged.
On the basis that the damaged sperm would decrease chances of conceiving and increase the possibility of birth abnormalities, the claimant abandoned IVF treatment using his sperm. The claimant filed a claim for damages for for loss of the chance of fatherhood (as well as distress and depression) against the defendant health authority.
The Judge, Lord Stewart ruled that the case should proceed to a full hearing as, ‘The case raises questions of novelty and importance in a developing area of law which demand to be answered after all the facts are known’.
At present it is not known when the full trial will be listed.