A Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland has dismissed an appeal brought on behalf of twins conceived following IVF treatment. The parents had requested a white sperm donor but owing to an error by the clinic the mother was inseminated with sperm from the Cape coloured community in South Africa.

The twins were of a different skin colour to their parents and from each other and claimed that, as a result, they were subjected to abusive and derogatory remarks from others, causing emotional upset and distress. If the twins went on to marry a person of mixed race, any child born to them could have different skin colour to either parent. Damages for injury were claimed.  

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal held that the claim must fail as the twins had not suffered any damage or injury as a result of the error made by the Trust. They had a normal and healthy existence having been born successfully and without mishap. The twins were unable to point to any physical or mental defect as a result of the process which lead to their existence. Having a different skin colour did not amount to a detriment, injury or damage. The appeal was therefore dismissed.  

A & B by C (their mother and next friend) v A – Health & Social Services Trust