Wrongful birth claim: Antenatal advice regarding chromosome abnormality

Mrs A v East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust [2015] EWHC 1038 (QB) saw a ‘wrongful birth’ claim by a mother alleging negligence in failure to advise her, during pregnancy, that the foetus may suffer a rare chromosomal abnormality.

It was common ground that the risk should have been raised with the mother, if there was evidence at the time of the relevant antenatal consultations from which it might be inferred that there was a material risk of the abnormality: [5]. There were also causation issues about choice of amniocentesis and the notional election to terminate the pregnancy.

The father himself had a chromosomal abnormality which was not detected during assisted reproductive (ICSI) treatment: [35]. A claim was not made in relation to that.

The court held that the clinical evidence (intra uterine growth retardation and other issues) did not show a material risk to which the mother should have been alerted: [64]

Further, the court was not persuaded that the mother would have elected to undergo amniocentesis (at [96]) nor that she would have elected to terminate the pregnancy (at [100]).

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