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Girl With Genetic Disease Allowed to Sue Sperm Bank In New York

Posted Apr 09 2009 6:21pm

This is somewhat interesting with the laws of 2 states being disputed in this instance.  Also, the judge said the girl’s mother could not have any legal grounds as the statute of limitations had run out for her participation.  One bad case of sperm is all it takes.  This ruling just clears the way for the image suit, so more to come on this one.  It will also be interesting to see what evidence is brought forward when this goes to trial, will the sperm bank get in touch with the donor as a result.  I’m sure a this point all of his donations have been disposed of or I would hope so, and what if there are any “me toos” in this case that could appear? 

Like almost everything else in life today we could possibly be seeing one more certification tag; “the sperm at this facility has been certified to the highest degree” at our lab.  On the website, it states they do screen and provide genetic counseling.  BD

Someday law professors might make hay out of this decision, handed down last week, about a 13 year-old girl who was allowed to sue a sperm bank for failing to detect that a sperm donor had a genetic defect. The decision has it all: tort law, contract law, family law — with some instructive civil procedure lessons (Statute of Limitations! Choice of Law!) thrown in for good measure.

In his 23-page opinion in Donovan v. Idant Laboratories, Philadelphia federal district court Judge Thomas O’Neill cleared the way for a 13-year-old mentally retarded girl from Pennsylvania to bring tort and contract claims against a New York sperm bank. The theory: the sperm used to conceive her had a defect known as “Fragile X,” a mutation known to cause a syndrome of maladies that include mental retardation and behavioral disorders.

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