A Chicago-area sperm bank is being sued by a white Ohio woman for mistakenly sending her vials from an African-American donor, NBC News reports.
Jennifer Cramblett, 36, and her domestic partner, Amanda Zinkon, thought Cramblett was being inseminated with a white man’s sperm, as they had requested, in 2011. It was not until April 2012, when Cramblett was pregnant and requesting more vials from the same donor for another child, that she learned of the mistake.
"They've made the one mistake a sperm bank can't make," Cramblett's lawyer, Thomas Intili, told NBC News on Wednesday, pointing to Midwest Sperm Bank's use of pen and paper for recording phone orders. "It's not like she was ordering pizza."
According to court papers, the 2-year-old child, Payton, is already facing prejudice in the couple's predominantly white hometown of Uniontown.
The birth mother is now suing Midwest Sperm Back for wrongful birth and breach of warranty, with the unspecified damages to include money to relocate to a more racially-tolerant and diverse area with good schools.
"She carried her daughter, Payton, for nine months. She has bonded with the child and she loves Payton very much,” Intili told NBC News. "But she lives in an all-white community in eastern Ohio. She did not encounter any African-American people until she entered college. Not all her friends and family members are racially sensitive."
The suit also cited the toddler’s hair care as an an example of the stigmatization the family faces.
"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 suit states. "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.”
A month after Cramblett discovered the sperm bank’s mistake, the company allegedly sent her a typed letter apologizing for the mistake and a refund check for the six vials of incorrect sperm.
The Midwest Sperm Bank website promises prospective mothers "the highest standards of quality control and assurance with regard to all of our cryo-preserved donor semen."
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