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'Stolen' sperm spawns twins, lawsuit

28 November 2011
Appeared in BioNews 635

A man is suing a US fertility clinic in negligence for 'mental and economic injuries' after alleging it used his 'stolen' sperm to help his ex-girlfriend conceive without his consent.

Joe Pressil is claiming his ex-girlfriend took his sperm to the Advanced Fertility Centre of Texas in Houston, which he believes she may have obtained from a used condom. The clinic allegedly performed an assisted conception procedure on the ex-girlfriend in 2007 which resulted in the birth of twins. A paternity test then confirmed Pressil to be the biological father.

'Actually, I couldn't believe it could be done. I was very, very devastated', telecommunications manager Pressil told US news station KPRC. 'I couldn't believe that this fertility clinic could actually do this without my consent, or without my even being there'.

He is also reportedly suing the company's in-house sperm bank, Omni-Med, for refusing to return the rest of the sperm sample.

Pressil claims he became aware of the unusual theft in February 2011 after receiving a receipt for cryopreservation of a sperm sample from the clinic.

His ex-girlfriend gave birth over a year after the couple split, and shortly after sued Pressil for child support. When a patient at the clinic, she was registered as Pressil's wife. The couple were not married, however.

Pressil claimed that was he neither ready to have a family nor did he agree with artificial insemination on religious grounds. 'That's a violation of myself, to what I believe in, to my religion, and just to my manhood', he said.

In a statement from Pressil's lawyer, Jason Gibson, it was outlined that 'due to the unexpected birth of his children caused by defendants, Pressil suffered severe mental anguish and incurred economic harm due to substantial child support payments'.

'I didn't think that anyone could use a condom and bring it to a clinic to get [IVF]', Pressil said. He explained that his then girlfriend would often dispose of the condom herself after sex, which he found 'odd'.

Registered as Anetria Pressil with the clinic, she told Pressil that she couldn't conceive due to a fibroid problem, and that the condition required 'special condoms'. Pressil allowed Anetria to join his health insurance, believing she was receiving treatment for the condition. The fertilisation procedures were charged to his insurance policy, however, and his credit card was also used to pay for them.

In addition, Anetria provided blood samples from Pressil, and a consent form bearing his signature. The clinic admits that the signatures may have been forged by the mother, reports the Mail Online.

'I hope that an indirect result of this lawsuit will be that these 'one stop baby shop' type places that will take your money and get you pregnant without the male's consent will take note and perhaps change the way they do business in the future', said Gibson.

A lawyer representing the Advanced Fertility Centre and Omni-Med, Danny Sheena, called the lawsuit 'suspect' and 'disingenuous'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Dad claims twins came from sperm stolen by ex-girlfriend
MSNBC |  23 November 2011
How did they get his sperm?
Courthouse News Service |  22 November 2011
Joe Pressil: Dude, Where's My Semen?
Houston Press |  22 November 2011
Unwitting father sues fertility clinic after his girlfriend 'stole his sperm and got pregnant with twins via IVF' - then sued him for child support
Daily Mail |  23 November 2011
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