Children's Health

Couple sue IVF doctor for $10M in 'wrongful birth' case

An Australian couple are seeking $10.6 million in damages from their IVF doctor because their son was born with a rare, genetic defect and will suffer a lifelong handicap.

Debbie and Lawrence Waller, of Kangaroo Valley, 95 miles south of Sydney, told The Sydney Morning Herald they love their son Keeden, but believe he should never have been born.

Days after Keeden was born in August 2000 he suffered a massive stroke causing brain damage and leaving him unable to walk, talk or go to the toilet unaided. The stroke was the result of a rare blood clotting condition he inherited from his father.

The Wallers are now suing IVF specialist Christopher James -- who oversaw the conception of Keeden -- in the New South Wales Supreme Court for what is known as "wrongful birth."

They are seeking compensation for the lifelong care of their handicapped son, claiming the doctor breached his duty of care by not advising them of the risks of the clotting condition.

"We love Keeden now that he's here, but if we had the right information and the right options we wouldn't have gone ahead with the birth, not in the way we did," Debbie Waller said. "Had things been done right, Keeden would never have been here. He would never have to go through the suffering he goes through -- the seizures and all."

This is the second damages claim against doctors brought by the Wallers. In 2006, the High Court of Australia rejected a "wrongful life" claim made on behalf of Keeden against Debbie Waller's two obstetricians and her IVF clinic.

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