updated 9/23/2006 12:58:13 AM ET 2006-09-23T04:58:13

A man who donated sperm so that his fiancee could be inseminated is suing an Oregon hospital that gave the sample to the wrong woman.

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The man, identified in court papers only as “M.H.”, is seeking $2 million from Oregon Health & Sciences University. He also filed a separate lawsuit to determine whether a child was born.

The hospital acknowledges that the man’s sperm was used to inseminate a woman he hadn’t intended it for.

“OHSU is deeply sorry for this situation,” said Barbara Glidewell, the hospital’s patient advocate and ethicist. “Health care providers are human and error is inevitable.”

The hospital, whose fertility clinic performs about 1,000 inseminations a year, said new safeguards have been implemented.

In September 2005 the man’s sample was given to a woman, identified only as “Jane Doe,” who had been trying for years with her husband to start a family. The couple paid $515 for sperm from an anonymous donor, according to court documents.

Jane Doe’s husband stated that after the insemination procedure doctors told the couple of the mistake and that “we had to return to the hospital so that my wife could be given some medicine to make sure she did not become pregnant,” according to documents.

He said that he and his wife “were not permitted to leave OHSU’s fertility clinic until my wife swallowed the medicine under the watchful eye of a nurse,” the documents said. He also said the OHSU fertility clinic offered a free abortion if she became pregnant “and two free artificial inseminations” if she didn’t.

Hospital spokeswoman Kathleen McFall said she could not comment on those allegations.

Jane Paulson, an attorney for M.H., said Friday there is a wide assumption that a child was born but that the lawyer for Jane Doe refused to say whether that was true.

Jane Doe’s husband said in a court document he and his wife are not interested in any financial support M.H. might have to offer: “We only want M.H and his ’partner’ to leave us alone.”

M.H.’s lawsuit seeking to find out if Jane Doe gave birth to his child is scheduled to go to court in Portland on Monday. Paulson said the lawsuit seeking damages from the hospital could be a year or more away from trial.

The insemination mistake was first reported Friday in The Oregonian.

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