Jennifer Cramblett has sued a Chicago-area sperm bank after she became pregnant with sperm donated by a black man instead of a white man as she'd intended. Cramblett was pregnant with Payton, now 2-years-old, when the mistake was discovered.
The Ohio woman is seeking damages and wants to ensure the sperm bank doesn’t make a similar mistake again.
Within days of their wedding in New York, Jennifer Cramblett and Amanda Zinkon had become pregnant with the donor sperm. In April 2012, five months into her pregnancy, Cramblett, 36, called Midwest Sperm Bank LLC outside Chicago to reserve sperm from the same donor in the hope that Zinkon, 29, would someday also have a child.
That’s when Cramblett received some disturbing news, says a lawsuit filed Monday against Midwest Sperm Bank in Cook County, Illinois: She learned from a sperm bank employee that she had been inseminated with sperm from the wrong donor.
Cramblett said they had chosen sperm from a man known as No. 380, a white donor. The sperm used for insemination came from No. 330, a black donor, she said.
“How could they make a mistake that was so personal?” Cramblett said during a telephone interview on Wednesday.
According to the lawsuit, her excitement about the pending birth was replaced with “anger, disappointment and fear.”
“They took a personal choice, a personal decision and took it on themselves to make that choice for us out of pure negligence,” Cramblett said.
A woman who answered the telephone at Midwest Sperm Bank on Thursday would not comment and said an attorney would be providing a statement. She would not give her name or identify the attorney.
Cramblett said she and Zinkon love their 2-year-old daughter, Payton, very much and wouldn’t change anything about her. But they are concerned about raising her in the predominantly white community where they live.
The lawsuit said they had moved the Ohio town of Uniontown for better schools and to be closer to Cramblett’s family. She said that as a lesbian she has felt the sting of prejudice but doesn’t know what it’s like to be mistreated because of skin colour.
The lawsuit says Cramblett also is worried about how Payton will be treated in her “all-white, and often unconsciously insensitive family.”
Therapists have recommended that Cramblett, Zinkon and Payton move to a more racially diverse community with good schools, the lawsuit said.
Cramblett said she decided to sue to prevent the sperm bank from making the same mistake again. The lawsuit says the sperm bank has no electronic record-keeping and no quality controls that would have prevented it from sending the wrong sperm to fertility clinics.
The lawsuit seeks a minimum of $50,000 in damages. Cramblett’s attorney, Tim Misny, said some of the compensation would pay for ongoing counselling.