Wrongful conception results typically from failed male or female sterilisation procedures, poor counselling in connection with the likely consequences or results of such procedures or poor counselling about the risk of a disabled child being born as a result of an undiagnosed unexplained genetic condition suffered by one parent. There are also instances where a claim can be pursued for the negligent fitting of the contraceptive implant.

In wrongful conception claims you will be compensated for the physical and emotional pain, incapacity and distress of an unwanted pregnancy and labour and possible additional re-sterilisation procedure. This is usually at about £5,000, although it could be more if the pregnancy or labour was unusually complicated or you experienced post-natal depression. You will also be entitled to compensation if you decide to proceed with a termination. You will be entitled to claim for any financial losses, including loss of earnings, resulting from the unwanted pregnancy. However, following the decisions in the House of Lords in McFarlane v Tayside Health Board and Rees v Darlington Memorial Hospital [2003] UKHL 52 you will not be compensated for the cost of bringing up any child born as a result of the failed sterilisation, unless that child is disabled.

Wrongful birth cases are those in which conception was desired but where the negligent act resulted in the birth of a child when a termination of pregnancy was wanted or would have been wanted had appropriate information been given. This essentially arises where parents have not been warned that a child will be born with a specific disability, and if they had been warned would have terminated the pregnancy. In this case damages can be obtained for the costs associated with the welfare and healthcare of the disabled child.

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