A court case has begun involving a man's claim against a US fertility clinic and his ex-girlfriend, who allegedly procured vials of his sperm without his permission to conceive a child.
In 2002, Layne Hardin and his girlfriend at the time, Katherine LeBlanc, visited the West Houston Fertility Clinic (which later became Texas Andrology) to store some of his sperm before he had a vasectomy. The sperm was placed under the authority of LeBlanc (see BioNews 695).
The couple broke up in 2006 and Hardin then began dating another woman, Tobie Devall, with whom he visited the same clinic in 2008 to discuss the possibility of having a child together. They chose not to do so at that time and their relationship ended the following year.
Hardin and LeBlanc's claim form alleges that Devall later revisited the clinic and procured two vials of Hardin's sperm without his permission. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son in 2010. Hardin claims Devall became pregnant to spite him, and he is held accountable to pay US$1000 per month in child support for a son he has never met.
Devall's counter claim asserts that Hardin knew of her plans, however, and states that she did nothing wrong. The clinic is also being sued for a breach of contract and negligence. Hardin says that proper measures were not put in place to ensure that his sperm was safe.
Cade Bernsen, Hardin's lawyer, said: 'There are more security checks in place for me going and buying alcohol at a gas station than there were for her to receive a man's DNA and the building blocks of life.'
'They've been waiting patiently. It's gonna be a spirited trial, a heated trial, and we believe ultimately the justice system will take care of itself,' he added.