A couple, who could not have children, have been told by the High Court in United Kingdom they can keep a baby born in Nigeria, despite tests showing they were not the child’s biological parents.
The mother said she was tricked by a doctor into believing she had given birth while sedated, after she went to Nigeria for fertility treatment.
But the judge ruled they were victims of an “appalling scam.”
The presiding judge Mr. Justice Coleridge added the case was “extraordinary, bizarre and worrying.”
Charities meanwhile have raised concerns about the judgement, warning it may encourage trafficking.
At the High Court on Thursday, Mr. Justice Coleridge ruled that the pair, who he described as people of the “highest calibre”, should be given custody of the girl who is nearly two years old.
The couple – who live in London but cannot be named for legal reasons – failed to conceive a child despite undergoing IVF treatment in the UK.
They were said to be “desperate and distressed”.
In 2010, the couple travelled to Nigeria where the woman received fertility treatment at a private clinic.
She told the court that when she returned to the clinic months later she was sedated. When she regained consciousness she was handed a baby and told she had given birth.
On her return to London, a GP raised concerns. The child was taken into care and a DNA test proved the child was not related to the couple.
They then launched legal proceedings to get custody.
The court was told that such “baby exchange” frauds were common in Nigeria.