Triplets' mother sues clinic over unwanted baby

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A mother of triplets began a High Court compensation claim yesterday against a fertility clinic that she says implanted her with three embryos instead of the two she wanted.

A mother of triplets began a High Court compensation claim yesterday against a fertility clinic that she says implanted her with three embryos instead of the two she wanted.

Patricia and Peter Thompson are claiming damages for breach of contract from Sheffield Fertility Centre, claiming they never agreed to implantation of a third embryo when Mrs Thompson began treatment four years ago.

The High Court, sitting in Sheffield, was told that Mrs Thompson of Thrybergh, South Yorkshire, began treatment in June 1996 after she and her husband, who is now 57, had tried unsuccessfully for children for five years.

Mrs Thompson, 34, told Mr Justice Hooper that after speaking to a doctor, she and her husband decided they wanted just two embryos toimplant in her womb.

She said this was because if she became pregnant with triplets she did not want to have a foetus aborted to increase the chances of a successful twin pregnancy.The couple did not want triplets either.

"I think two is more than enough for anyone to have. I just wanted two babies or a baby," she told the court. "I wouldn't have wanted three implanted because of the consultation given in the beginning. The doctor explained so thoroughly the risk of carrying a third or fourth baby.

"It was just such good advice that two was the right amount to carry."

Mrs Thompson produced five eggs, of which four were fertilised with her husband's sperm. Three of these were implanted in her on 10 July 1996, in a 10-minute procedure at the clinic. The entire course of private treatment cost £1,600.

She said she was expecting two embryos to be implanted, but saw "three little brown blobs" on a screen. She was told after the procedure that three embryos were implanted. Even so, the risk of a triplet birth was "considered minimal".

When it was clear she was pregnant with triplets, Mrs Thompson was offered a foetal reduction. But she told the court: "I don't agree with foetal reduction or abortion - once that egg is put inside you it then becomes a baby, so there's no way."

She gave birth to a girl and two boys in March 1997.

In 1998 she became pregnant naturally, and now has a two-year-old daughter as well as the triplets.

The hearing continues today.

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