A New Jersey fertility clinic must hand over a list a sperm donors after a white couple says the facility erroneously impregnated a woman with the sperm of an unknown Asian man.
The couple said they went to Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in the Garden State after they couldn’t get pregnant on their own. Opting for artificial insemination through in vitro fertilization, they successfully had a baby girl. But when the child was around two, the couple noticed was their child was developing “Asian features,” according to the couple’s lawyer, Dave Mazie.
Mazie told NBC News the couple, who have asked to stay anonymous, conducted a DNA test that revealed the father shared no biological traits with his child and the father was of Asian descent. The news devastated the couple, who have since divorced, citing the stress of the fertility clinic mix-up, Mazie said.
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Now, the couple is seeking monetary damages, saying that while they love their child dearly the clinic’s alleged mistake has caused them “great pain, suffering, permanent injuries and disabilities, as well as the loss of enjoyment of the quality of life.”
The couple, who spent $500,000 on the fertility treatment, also wants to know who the biological father of their child is. In late August, as first reported by NJ.com, a judge said the fertility clinic must hand over the list of donors. Mazie says this is the first step in learning more about the child's biological father.
“The child is entitled to know what her genetic makeup is and if there's any issues,” Mazie said.
The parents are open to having the biological father in their child’s life, but first need to learn who the father is. Mazie said the father wants to know if his sperm was ever used in someone else's pregnancy.
The fertility clinic said in a statement, "the integrity of our treatment processes are paramount and we are taking this matter very seriously."
It also said that it was "examining" the incident but does not comment "specifically on individual patient matters."
“I don’t think the clinic should be closed down, people make mistakes," Mazie said, "but this should never ever happen.”