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  • Kays Al-Khanak

Man infertile after clinic intervention: legal dispute over costs after artificial insemination

After an operation in a clinic in Giessen, a man can no longer father children naturally. This is changing thanks to a special treatment. Now the clinic and the father are fighting in court.

Giessen – The wish to have children does not always come true. For very different reasons, for which often absolutely no one can do anything. Sometimes life is not bloody fair. And then couples stand there and ask: Why us of all people?? Some people eventually find ways to cope with it. For others, there is always a gap in life that is difficult to close. But what happens when a child’s wish becomes a distant memory because someone makes a mistake??

In 2004, a 32-year-old man presented himself at the urology department of a hospital in Giessen. But after the subsequent surgery, the man can no longer father children naturally. Only after 17 years, the treatment in a fertility clinic in Cyprus is successful. Now the proud father of triplets and the Giessen clinic have met again in a civil suit before the local district court. Again.

Giessen: Frankfurt Higher Regional Court overturns first ruling in case of infertility

It’s rare for a plaintiff to receive congratulations before a court hearing even begins – and then from this place, too. But one will not be able to accuse judge Beate Bremer of any partisanship. There’s a lot of empathy involved when she tells the man, "Congratulations it worked out."He smiles, thanks her and says: "We haven’t slept in months."

For many years it did not look as if the man’s wish for a child would come true. About 17 years ago, he suffered from a urethral stenosis that caused him problems when urinating. An endoscopic urethral slit was performed at the Giessen clinic. The procedure did not alleviate the man’s problems. That’s why the doctors used an endoscopic bladder neck slit a few days later. This solved the problem. However, the result was permanent retrograde ejaculation. This means: the semen does not flow to the outside, but only into the bladder. Since then, the man has no longer been able to conceive a child naturally. The relationship with his former partner broke up, the wedding plans fell through.

Giessen: Treatment in Cyprus 17 years after failed procedure successful

The man filed a lawsuit at Giessen Regional Court. The reason: He was not sufficiently informed about the possible consequences of the operation and also not about alternative, conservative treatment methods. He demanded compensation for pain and suffering as well as a declaration that material damages that could arise in the future must be reimbursed by the clinic The Regional Court rejected the claim as unfounded in 2008. The man appealed to the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court (OLG). This overturned the Giessen verdict. He was awarded 25,000 euros in compensation for pain and suffering. In addition, the senate of the OLG stated that material future damages must be compensated by the hospital.

The desire to have a child remained. Due to his modest financial circumstances and family ties in Cyprus, the man and his new partner decided to undergo fertility treatment in Cyprus. There, this treatment is about a third cheaper than in Germany. A first attempt in 2019 was not successful; the clinic did not want to cover some of the costs. The result was a settlement at the Regional Court of Giessen one year later.

Man infertile after surgery: No agreement on settlement in proceedings at Giessen Regional Court

At the turn of the year 2020/21, the couple tried again with a fertility treatment – this time with success. And how: It came to the birth of triplets, not uncommon in artificial insemination. Now the man has claimed costs for medication and treatment before the Regional Court of Giessen (about 1200 euros). He also claims damages for the child’s mother for wasted travel time, as she had to take more than 50 days of vacation due to the hospital stays. In total he claims 6000 Euro.

Especially the demand for damages because of the vacation judge Bremer considers not justified, she says in the current proceedings. In similar cases, courts would not have upheld such claims. It looks different with the treatment and medicine costs. These are probably to be seen as a consequence of the treatment errors in 2004, she says. Your proposal: the parties should come to an amicable agreement and the clinic should pay 1000 euros.

Man from Giessen infertile after surgery: clinic to pay costs of treatment and vacation

After brief consultation, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Thomas Marowsky, says his client does not agree with this amount. It is possible to reach an agreement if the hospital pays for the treatment and half of the vacation costs. Beatrice Herud, who represents the clinic, rejects this: "Otherwise we run the risk that afterwards the costs for the triple children’s clothing will also be claimed."Judge Bremer emphasizes that in case of a continuation of the proceedings an expert opinion has to be prepared.

This is to clarify what treatment costs were necessary in the case of a multiple birth as opposed to a single birth. However, this expert opinion costs almost twice as much as the amount suggested by her, which the plaintiff receives in a settlement. This argument does not change the father’s mind; the amicable agreement is broken. Now the parties will meet again in February in court. Again. (Kays Al-Khanak)

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