A couple have been granted legal access to spend time with their donor sperm grandchild following a landmark UK court of appeal ruling.
According to reports, the child was born to a lesbian couple via artificial insemination using the sperm of a friend.
The donor enjoyed regular contact with the five-year-old for the first three years of his life, but was cut off from seeing him following a dispute and subsequent separation of the legal parents.
In 2013, the legal parents, who continued to co-parent the child, said the presence of the sperm donor in the child’s life was “burdensome and troubling” to them and all contact stopped.
During this time, the biological father’s parents were also cut off from accessing the child.
But following a family court hearing in June 2017, Judge Jessica Pemberton said the biological father and his parents could continue to see the child.
The man would be allowed to see the child seven times a year for two hours at a time, while the grandparents could join in on two occasions per year and send birthday and Christmas cards.
The judge reasoned that the biological father and grandparents had formed a lifelong link with the paternal family and contact was vital to sustain his “sense of identity”.
The landmark ruling was appealed by the legal parents, but their case was dismissed in February.
Lord Justice Peter Jackson, presiding over the court of appeal, said contact with the grandparents would foster the boy’s welfare.
“Whatever the state of the relationship between the adults, they once cooperated to create this boy, a much-loved child. They owe it to him to try to recapture something of that spirit…both sides must now make the contact order work for the boy’s benefit,” he said.
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