Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Advanced Search

Search for

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook



US sperm donor sues clinic for using his sperm to impregnate ex-girlfriend

04 March 2013

By Tom Barrow

Appeared in BioNews 695

A man from Louisiana is attempting to sue a fertility clinic after accusing his ex-girlfriend of stealing his stored gametes. Layne Hardin has alleged that former partner Tobie Devall 'bluffed' her way into obtaining two vials of his sperm, which she was inseminated with.

Hardin and a previous partner from over ten years ago, Katherine LeBlanc, had originally decided to store some of his sperm before he was due to undergo a vasectomy. They already had a son together and though Hardin was due to be sterilised after the birth, they decided to store eight samples of his gametes at a Houston fertility clinic before his operation should they want to conceive another child in the future.

The Houston clinic had a contract in place with Hardin and LeBlanc, which in the event of their separation instructed that LeBlanc would be given control of the gametes to use at her discretion, the lawsuit claims.

The couple ended their relationship in 2006 and Hardin began to date Tobie Devall, the lawsuit continues. During their time together, the couple visited the same clinic for advice on conception, with Devall apparently aware that her partner already had sperm stored there. However, they broke up in 2009.

The lawsuit alleges that without authorisation to do so, Devall used Hardin's gametes to become pregnant and gave birth to a boy in 2010. His contract with the fertility clinic had made the sperm samples available for use only by LeBlanc; and the lawsuit accordingly claims that his contract with the clinic was broken.

Hardin has been established as the biological father of the child. Accordingly, his lawyer states that Devall could claim for child support and possibly part of Hardin's inheritance under the current law. His lawyer, Cade Benson, described the child as 'an innocent victim' and his situation as 'a controversial way to come into being'. He went on to say that the case is 'like a soap opera, but it's real'.

Conversely, Devall's lawyer denies the claims and says Hardin is a 'money grubber' who is pursuing the case for cash from the clinic and Duvall's family, whom he knows to be wealthy. He also states that 'a lot of the allegations in the petition are not factually accurate and have no evidence to back them up'.

As well as seeking damages from the clinic, Texas Andrology Services, and its owner, Obstetrical and Gynecological Associates, for allowing his gametes to be used without his consent, Hardin hopes that his case will bring about a change in the law that would prevent this scenario from recurring, reports the Houston Chronicle. Devall is also named in the lawsuit.

In 2011, a man sued a US fertility clinic for negligence for allowing his ex-girlfriend to gave birth to twins using his sperm, believed to have been obtained from a used condom, without his consent (reported in BioNews 635). The clinic denied the allegations calling the lawsuit 'suspect' and 'disingenuous'.

The doctor responsible for the clinic in the present lawsuit told KHOU 11 News he could not comment on ongoing litigation.

The trial is due to begin in April.

News 92 FM | 28 February 2013
Houston Chronicle | 28 February 2013
KHOU | 28 February 2013


23 March 2015 - by Chee Hoe Low 
A lecturer from London has been awarded nearly £40,000 in damages after his businesswoman ex-wife deceived him for over six years into believing that he was the biological father of her IVF-born son...

25 February 2013 - by Nina Chohan 
A Canadian fertility consultancy firm and its owner have been charged with allegedly buying or offering to buy sperm or eggs and surrogacy services....
07 January 2013 - by Rosie Beauchamp 
A sperm donor in Kansas, USA, has been ordered to pay $6,000 in child support to a lesbian couple who he helped conceive a child with...
05 November 2012 - by Joseph Jebelli 
A man who donated his sperm to a lesbian couple 13 years ago in a private arrangement has been ordered to pay child support. He has called on the Government to make changes in the law so that private sperm donors are treated fairly....
22 October 2012 - by Maria Sheppard 
A man in Queensland, Australia, who acted as a known sperm donor for a woman in what appeared to be a private arrangement, has been awarded shared parental responsibility over a girl he fathered...
16 July 2012 - by Ruth Retassie 
A Californian woman is suing the US Food and Drug Administration over its sperm donation policy...

Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust


Public Conference
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Andy Greenfield

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Henry Malter

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross

Sandy Starr


Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation