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Couple demand compensation from health authorities after vasectomy fails

Ismael and Susana with their four children in their family home.
Ismael and Susana with their four children in their family home. / F. SILVA
  • A couple from Malaga hope to receive 215,000 euros of compensation after conceiving a fourth child despite having a vasectomy

Ismael Robles, 31, and Susana Guillén 30, are taking legal action against the 'Servicio Andaluz de Salud' (SAS) after an operation which 'guaranteed sterilisation' failed to do so.

Initially, the couple decided that Ismael would have the operation as they were going through a period of financial difficulty and already had three children. "We were already a big family. I ruled out becoming a father again because I was unemployed then, and I still am," Ismael said. Susana, the family's sole earner, was also working long hours at a care home and having to study at night in order to obtain the nursing degree she needed to keep her job.

The first signs of the unexpected pregnancy came when Susana didn't get her period. After a few days she told Ismael and they did a pregnancy test repeatedly as they could not believe the result, joking that it was an "immaculate conception." Despite the supposed impossibility of the child being Ismael's he had no doubts about Susana's fidelity, "don't worry, I know the child is mine," he told her. Nevertheless Susana says "I have had to put up with all kinds of comments from other people about who I may have slept with." Despite the circumstances, the couple did not consider an abortion for one moment.

Doctors at Carlos Haya hospital, where the operation took place in October 2014, cannot find any logical explanation for the failure of the vasectomy.

Ismael and Susana hope to receive an amount of 215,000 euros of compensation from the SAS for two reasons. Firstly, they have been advised that they are entitled to 65,000 euros for the doctor's failure to sterilise Ismael. Secondly, the estimated average cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is 150,000 euros.

The family's lawyer, Francisco Damián Vázquez, believes the couple have a good chance of winning the case because their child, Jorge, was conceived nine months after the vasectomy took place, despite doctors' advice that patients only need to use precautionary contraception for up to three months post-operation.