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Sperm mix-up case dismissed

7 September 2015
Appeared in BioNews 818

A woman who sued a US sperm bank after she gave birth to a mixed-race child has had her claim rejected by an Illinois court, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Jennifer Cramblett, who is in a same-sex relationship, sued the Midwest Sperm Bank for breach of warranty and wrongful birth after a clerical error meant she was sent sperm from an African-American donor rather than a Caucasian donor (reported in BioNews 774).

She gave birth to a daughter, Peyton, but explained that although she loves her daughter, she had concerns about raising her in a predominantly white community. Cramblett and her partner are white, and she has previously said that her family often 'speaks openly and derisively about persons of colour'.

Judge Ronald Sutter dismissed the claim, agreeing with the sperm bank's arguments that a claim in wrongful birth - where a parent sues for the birth of a child - could not be sustained where the child is born healthy.

The claim in breach of warranty under the state's laws on blood and tissue donations also failed as the statute did not cover such an event as this. 'Sperm is not tissue', Judge Sutter said.

Cramblett has been allowed to resubmit her claim in negligence, the Chicago Tribune explains, and the case is scheduled to return to court on 17 December.

Suit filed over mix-up at Downers Grove sperm bank is dismissed
The Chicago Tribune |  5 September 2015
US lesbian mother who wanted blonde baby sues clinic after giving birth to mixed-race girl
Mail Online |  7 September 2015
Woman accidentally impregnated with black man's sperm has legal case dismissed
The Guardian |  5 September 2015
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Why shouldn't the sperm bank be held responsible? ( - 07/09/2015)
With or without a lawsuit, and however much this child is loved, one day she's going to ask her parents why she's not the same color as either of them, and they're going to have to tell her the sperm bank messed up.  That's not a question any of them should have to deal with, and they all deserve compensation.  The mothers also have to deal with the issue of which donor to use if they want another child (or more children).  In their position, I'd go with the same donor so that the children are full siblings, but they may just avoid having more children, since there are downsides to using the same donor or using their original choice.

The sperm bank caused all of this, and they should pay.

Similar issues would apply if two parents with blonde hair and blue eyes had a child with dark hair and brown eyes. I don't think people discriminate against people based on hair and eye color, but the child and others are going to ask questions, and the parents are going to have to explain that the sperm bank messed up.

I wouldn't regard either a lesbian or heterosexual couple to be racist in this situation, but it seems to me like the parents are getting a lot more hostility because they're two women and not a man and a woman.
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