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Man sues after sperm samples damaged

A MAN who stored his sperm after being diagnosed with testicular cancer is now suing a health board after a "malfunction" at a storage facility ruined his chances of becoming a father.

Richard Holdich, 43, is seeking £50,000 compensation from NHS Lothian for "distress and depression" for "loss of the chance of fatherhood", which he described as a "loss of autonomy" on the basis that damage to his sperm samples was caused by "negligence".

A judge in the Court of Session has allowed his damages claim to go to a full hearing, after the court heard there were "20 other cases waiting in the wings".

The court heard that in 1992, Mr Holdich, then aged 22, deposited three samples in a sperm bank at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh before having treatment for testicular cancer which made him infertile.

Mr Holdich later married and in August 2001 he requested his stored sperm so that he and his wife could have IVF, but was told that there had been a malfunction at the cryogenic storage facility, damaging the sperm so it could not be used.

However, the health board argued that even if all the facts alleged were proved, the law did not compensate for "mental injury" and the law did not recognise "loss of autonomy" as a compensable head of claim.

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