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Family Law

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01 NOV 2012

FACT-FINDING HEARING:A Local Authority v S and Others [2011] EWHC 3764 (Fam)

(Family Division, Coleridge J, 15 December 2011)

The Nigerian couple were very eager to have a child and believed the mother was pregnant following her attendance at a fertility clinic in Nigeria but her GP carried out tests and determined she was not. The mother returned to the GP following a further holiday in Nigeria with a baby she claimed to have given birth to. DNA tests revealed neither the mother nor the father were the parents of the baby.

The baby was placed with foster carers and had no contact with the couple for 9 months. The parents submitted that they had been victims of a scam by the fertility clinic which was supported by a newspaper article published in Nigeria describing the practices of so-called 'baby factories' whereby the mother had been tricked into believing she had given birth to this baby.

The judge made findings that the mother had no knowledge of the scam and had been particularly vulnerable due to the death of her first child. He directed that a parenting assessment of the couple take place and that they have indirect contact with the child pending further hearing.

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