An Austrian family has found out that the two daughters have no biological relationship at all with their “father”, who had had them “made” by one of the country’s leading experts on medically assisted reproduction, according to a report by the country’s leading newspaper. It appears that the Bregenz-based clinic owned and run by Dr. Herbert Zech, President of the Austrian Society for Reproductive Medicine, mixed up the intended father’s sperm cells with somebody else’s, handing over to the parents a child that was not biologically related to the father. Even worse, this hiccup happened twice to the same couple, who have now two daughters whose real fathers are totally unknown. Allegedly, even after the mistake was discovered Dr. Zech refused to provide to the girls any help in finding out who their real fathers were, as he had pledged anonymity to the so-called “donors”.
The case, which bears striking resemblances to a landmark case recently decided by the ECtHR, will now have to be heard by the District Court (Landesgericht) of Feldkirch. Cases like this might become increasingly frequent in the coming years, given the increasing frequency of births resulting from medically assisted procreation and the careless attitude of many reproduction clinics.