What You Need to Know About Wrongful Birth Claims

Sarah Lifestyle

While it might seem like a strange thing to claim against, everyone has real and valid reasons for either not wanting a child or not being able to raise one to how they see the best outcome or process – and being forced into this situation can be deeply traumatic.

Whether you have had an experience yourself or know somebody that does, wrongful birth can be a devastating thing to happen to anyone – especially the child.

But how can you quantify wrongful birth?

Wrongful birth is essentially when the birth of a baby was unintended and happened due to negligence from a professional health care provider.

This piece will discuss what you need to know about wrongful birth claims, including how a wrongful birth claim is proven and what you will need to create a successful claim.

How Does a Wrongful Birth Happen?

There are two main ways in which wrongful birth is categorised. The first includes negligence from a healthcare professional that led to the delayed or misdiagnosis of a baby’s health condition, wellbeing, or the baby’s development.

This means that when staff fail to detect a serious problem, such as sickle cell disease, Down Syndrome or a hole in the heart and fail to inform and discuss the implications on the baby’s quality of life with parents, they have essentially taken away the right of the parents to make informed decision with regards to whether progressing with the pregnancy is in the best interests of the baby and their family.

The second issue which can lead to a wrongful birth claim is when an individual has undertaken an operation for sterilisation which failed due to negligence leading to an unwanted pregnancy.

How is a Wrongful Birth Claim Proved?

In order for a wrongful birth claim to be successful, the victim must prove two separate claims. Without both, it will be difficult for a claim to pass.
First, there must be significant proof that there has been negligent treatment. Negligent treatment is categorised by treatment that has fallen below the accepted standard of care in the specific medical field.

Second, there must be evidence that establishes that it was the negligence that led to a child being born under circumstances that if the negligence had not have occurred, the child would not have been born.

 Witness Statement

Witness statements are crucial in many legal cases, and in this instance, for the claim to be successful, there needs to be proof that the parents would have terminated or avoided the pregnancy on receiving specific information. This information includes abnormalities or health conditions of the baby and any genetic risks that could be passed on from the family.

This can be a particularly difficult part of the process as it is retrospective, and it is best to consult with a professional who can guide you through this and any other aspects of wrongful birth claims.

What is Recovered During a Wrongful Birth Claim?

A continuation of a pregnancy that would have otherwise been terminated or an unwanted pregnancy caused by negligence in a sterilisation procedure will be grounds to claim for medical negligence compensation.