Ohio resident Jennifer Cramblett and her partner got a surprise when their baby was born after they used a sperm donor to get pregnant. Their daughter, Payton, was biracial. Instead of the donor sperm they wanted, which they requested come from a blonde, blue-eyed donor to match their own looks, was instead from a Black man when the facility they used mixed up donors.
In 2014, Cramblett sued, the Midwest Sperm Bank, who apologized and refunded part of her donor fee. But Cramblett alleged that raising a biracial child in her predominantly white Midwestern community subjected her, her partner and their daughter to stress, pain and suffering. This week an Ohio judge disagreed.
But DuPage County judge Ronald Sutter threw out the lawsuit Thursday, agreeing with attorneys for the sperm bank who argued that it lacked legal merit, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Attorneys for the sperm bank had argued that “wrongful birth” suits typically apply to cases where the child is born with a birth defect that doctors should have warned parents about; in this case, the child was healthy. Cramblett had also sought damages for a “breach of warranty.” The judge rejected both claims but said that Cramblett could refile the suit as a “negligence claim,” the Tribune reported.
At the heart of the lawsuit was Cramblett’s claim that she was unprepared to raise an African American child and that her community and her “unconsciously insensitive” family members might not be accepting of a child of a different race.
“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.