A Birmingham couple alleged to have dumped their twin baby girls, after having IVF treatment in India, are visiting them in a city hospital, NHS officials have claimed.
It had been reported that the parents, who have not been named, abandoned the twins at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, shortly after they were born by Caesarean section a fortnight ago, due to their gender.
It was claimed the 72-year-old father wanted sons to carry on the family name. But NHS West Midlands, the region’s strategic health authority, dismissed the reports and said the parents were “attentive to their needs.”
A spokeswoman said: “Twin girls were born at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, earlier this month by Caesarean section. Shortly after birth, the babies were transferred to a unit in Birmingham closer to where their parents live.
“The parents are visiting their daughters while they are being cared for in hospital. For patient confidentiality reasons, the identity of the family, the babies and the hospital are not being disclosed.”
Birmingham City Council confirmed there had not been any referral to social services.
IVF treatment on the NHS is subject to guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), which recommend a mother judged eligible should be offered up to three cycles of IVF if she is between 23 and 39 years old at the time of treatment.
Both parents were born in India but are British citizens. Countries like India are known to display a cultural preference for sons. The twins’ mother is thought to be 59, which would make her one of Britain’s oldest mums
A spokeswoman for Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs New Cross, said: “We can confirm that a pair of female twins were born here two weeks ago. They were both healthy and well, if a little premature.
“The maternity units near where the couple live in Birmingham were full, which is why they had to go to New Cross. A few days after their birth they were transferred to a central Birmingham hospital, where they could be visited and monitored more easily.”
Susan Seenan, spokeswoman for Infertility Network UK, said some patients go abroad because they cannot access the treatment in this country. She said: “The UK has a very good regulatory system, through which the welfare of any children born through assisted conception treatment is ensured before treatment could go ahead.”
John Paul Maytum, spokesman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which licenses and monitors IVF clinics, said sex selection of embryos for social reasons is illegal in Britain.
He said: “Under UK law, before anybody is given treatment, there’s a requirement that the doctor must take account of the welfare of any children born.
“This is to make sure that children will be born into a safe and loving environment.
“If the doctor has any doubts about the welfare of the child then they shouldn’t give treatment - that’s part of the UK system.”