Lawsuit dismissed: White woman mistakenly impregnated with a black man’s sperm loses in court

AP Photo/Mark Duncan)AP Photo/Mark Duncan) is interviewed at the home of her attorney, Tim Misny, right, in Waite Hill, Ohio Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Cramblett has sued a Chicago-area sperm bank after she became pregnant with sperm donated by a black man instead of a white man as she'd intended.

A judge has dismissed a white woman’s claim against a sperm bank that mistakenly provided sperm from a black donor, resulting in a mixed-race child she said she was not culturally prepared to raise.

Jennifer Cramblett sought damages from the in Illinois for wrongful birth and breach of warranty.

Courtesy of Jennifer CramblettCourtesy of Jennifer CramblettPayton Cramblett

But Judge Ronald Sutter said a “wrongful birth” claim could only be sustained where testing had failed to reveal risks of hereditary or congenital disorders.

Cramblett became pregnant in December 2011 through artificial insemination using sperm donated by a black man instead of the white donor she and her partner selected. When the mistake, due to a clerical error, was discovered, the sperm bank issued an apology and a partial refund.

Cramblett told the court that she loved her mixed race daughter, Peyton, who is now aged three, but because of her upbringing she had stereotypical attitudes about black people and had “limited cultural competency” when dealing with African-Americans.

The family live in Uniontown, Ohio with a population of only 2,802 and Cramblett is reported to have said she feared the child will be the only non-white child in her school.

“Getting a young daughter’s hair cut is not particularly stressful for most mothers, but to Jennifer it is not a routine matter, because Payton has hair typical of an African-American girl,” the lawsuit said. “To get a decent cut, Jennifer must travel to a black neighborhood, far from where she lives, where she is obviously different in appearance, and not overtly welcome.”

According to the suit, the couple chose sperm from donor No. 380, a white man; instead, they were given sperm from donor No. 330, a black man. They blame a paper records system that allegedly caused an employee to misread the numbers.

In an interview with NBC News, she said she was happy she had a healthy child but “I’m not going to let them get away with not being held accountable. We had to take this into our hands because I will not let this happen again. I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to anyone ever again.”

Bob Summers, a lawyer for the sperm bank, argued that Cramblett’s claim of “wrongful birth” could not be legally sustained in a case where a healthy child was born. “Wrongful birth” cases are meant to address cases where medical testing was negligent and failed to show risks of congenital or hereditary disorders to a child before birth, he said.

Lawyer Lynsey Stewart, also representing Midwest Sperm Bank in the case, argued that the Illinois Blood and Organ Transaction Liability Act was never intended to address situations such as Cramblett’s. She said the act specifically addresses many types of medical situations but it clearly omits sperm donations.

Cramblett has been invited to resubmit her claim on the grounds of negligence. She is due back in court on December 17.

About David Millward, The Telegraph