She Sues Sperm Bank for Mistakenly Using Sperm From a Black Donor
Sperm banks are becoming more and more popular among couples who cannot conceive traditionally. They allow women to select a suitable male candidate to father their child. The insemination is a medical procedure, so the women never meet the men. Unfortunately, this leads to an unexpected mix-up for Jennifer Cramblett.
Five years ago, Cramblett and her partner went to the Midwest Sperm Bank to find a healthy donor for their desired child. She chose a caucasian male designated as Donor 380 because he had blond hair and blue eyes just like her partner. However, the sperm bank that Cramblett used did not keep electronic records. Instead, they used handwritten records that caused an error. A staff member read Cramblett’s file as a request for Donor 330, not Donor 380.
The mix-up was not discovered until the couple was five months into their pregnancy. They learned that the sperm donor accidentally used was African-American instead. Cramblett was shocked to learn that she was now going to be the mother of a multiracial baby. Though she says that the revelation did not change her feelings for her daughter, it came with a lot of difficulties.
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Cramblett and her partner lived in a small rural town with few minorities. She did not know much about African American culture. Cramblett was not sure how to raise her child to be proud of her heritage. She did not even know how to comb her daughter’s thick curly hair at first. The Cramblett family also faced a lot of ignorance and insensitivity in their town. They ended up having to move to a new city where their daughter’s race was accepted and celebrated.
The sperm bank did almost nothing to help the Cramblett family through these difficulties. All they did was apologize and offer a refund for the cost of the procedure. This small refund did not actually support Cramblett as she learned how to be the mother to a biracial child. Therefore, Cramblett decided to sue the company for damages.
At first, the news of the lawsuit resulted in accusations of racism against Cramblett. However, public opinion started to support her after she explained that she was not mad that her daughter was biracial. Cramblett claims that she just wants to get enough money to properly raise her child. She is also suing because she wants to hold the sperm bank accountable for their mistake.
The original lawsuit was not accepted in court because Cramblett filed a “wrongful birth” claim. This type of legal action is used against a doctor that does not properly warn parents of a diseased baby. It is used successfully in cases where the doctor did not tell the family a baby would have Down’s syndrome. Since little Payton is healthy, that type of lawsuit was considered irrelevant. She may have more difficulties in life because of her race, but she is not disabled.
Cramblett still believes that she has a case, even though she filed the wrong lawsuit at first. She is now filing a new lawsuit. They are suing for fraud, negligent behavior, and breach of contract. She hopes to get $150,000 in payment plus the cost of her attorney fees. The Cramblett family plans to use this money to pay for counseling so they can better raise their biracial daughter.