Childless couples and individuals have more options than ever before to have a child. In addition to adoption and the classic method of conception, there are at least 17 other ways to have a baby. Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF) utilizing donor sperm from a sperm bank are some of the most common options to have a baby.
When individuals and couples seek donor sperm from a sperm bank, they may have special requests and requirements about the donor. This may include ethnicity, height, hair color, education level, and general health. Some sperm banks even provide a donor matching consultation. However, because of donor confidentiality, clients have to rely on sperm bank representations about what characteristics the donor actually has.
When the sperm bank misrepresents the donor, the new parents may be unsure of what options they have. In some cases, the parents are seeking damages through filing a lawsuit against the sperm bank.
Angela Collins and Margaret Elizabeth Hanson chose Donor 9623 from Xytex Corp. when looking for a sperm donor for the child they wanted to have. According to the donor's profile, he was eloquent, mature, healthy, and an IQ of 160. He had a degree in neuroscience, and was pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience engineering. However, 7 years after giving birth, the couple now alleges that the company misled them.
After receiving a batch of emails from the sperm bank, which mistakenly included the donor's name, they looked into the identity of the donor. Instead of the smart and healthy image they were sold, they learned that the real donor is schizophrenic, never graduated college, and had been arrested on a burglary charge. The sperm bank even went so far as to remove a large mole in the donor's picture.
Xyrtex claims that the couple was informed that the information was provided by the donor, and Xyrtex did not investigate the claims. However, the couple disagrees. They filed a lawsuit in Georgia against Xytex for misrepresenting the donor.
The Fulton County judge dismissed the claim on the basis that “wrongful birth” claims are not recognized under Georgia law. Wrongful birth claims are based on the idea that if parents had been fully informed of the condition of a fetus, they would not go through with birthing the child. However, the judge did note that the law does not always keep up with science.
In his decision, Judge Robert McBurney stated the plaintiffs, “make a compelling argument that there should be a way for the parties aggrieved as these Plaintiffs are to pursue negligence claims against a service provider in pre-conception services.”
An Ohio woman filed a lawsuit against an Illinois sperm bank for providing donor sperm from a black man instead of a white man, as requested. The DuPage County judge dismissed the lawsuit under the wrongful birth claim. Instead, the judge ruled the woman could refile the lawsuit on a negligence claim against Midwest Sperm Bank.
If you received donor sperm that you suspect the sperm bank misrepresented, you may want to speak to an experienced Illinois attorney. At Benassi & Benassi, we are committed to getting our clients the justice they deserve and equal treatment under the law.