A lesbian woman from Ohio, Jennifer Cramblett, used a sperm bank and artificial insemination to become pregnant in December 2011. However, the joy of the birth was short-lived as Cramblett claims the Illinois-based sperm bank should be “held accountable” for their “mistake” in allowing her to be impregnated by a black man’s sperm. Cramblett says that she chose a white, blonde haired, blue-eyed man’s sperm. However, due to a vile mix-up, the woman was sent the sperm of a black man. Therefore, as Cramblett is a white woman, her daughter is bi-racial which is difficult for her because she has “limited cultural competency” with African-Americans and her family is racist. However, the judge ruled there was no “wrongful birth” as the child was born completely healthy.
The Daily Mail reports that Jennifer Cramblett and her partner, Amanda Zinkon, chose artificial insemination to begin their family together. The lesbian couple chose a man’s sperm from a local sperm bank that met their specific requirements. However, the sperm they received was from another man, a black man. After birthing a bi-racial baby, Cramblett filed a lawsuit against the sperm bank for the “wrongful birth” of her daughter and a “breech of warranty.”
The Chicago Tribune notes that the judge in the case ruled this week that Cramblett had no cause for the “wrongful birth” lawsuit as the child was born healthy. The judge noted that “wrongful birth” cases are meant to address cases where medical testing was negligent and failed to show risks of congenital or hereditary disorders to a child before birth, not the race of the child. In regards to the warranty claim, Attorney Lynsey Stewart, who’s representing Midwest Sperm Bank in the case, argued that the Illinois Blood and Organ Transaction Liability Act was never intended to address situations such as Cramblett’s, and specifically omits sperm.
However, Cramblett claims that the sperm bank must be held accountable for their mistake as she is now left to raise a bi-racial child alongside her racist family. Cramblett says some of her family members are openly racist and that she has “limited cultural competency” regarding African-Americans and never met a black person until she was in college. She says that she fears she will have to move from her small town in Ohio due to her daughter’s race and that if she does stay, she is scared her daughter will be the only non-white student at her school.
“We had to take this into our hands because I will not let this happen again. I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to anyone ever again. You can’t just go, ‘Well you got a baby. You got a baby so you should be happy. Lesbian couples can’t get a baby anyway. You should be happy that you have a healthy child.’ I am happy that I have a healthy child. We love her more… to this day, she’s made us the people that we are. Never trade it for the world.”
Despite saying she wouldn’t trade her daughter for the world, she says having a bi-racial child in a town without diversity is hard and that she has to drive to a “black neighborhood” to get her daughter’s haircut and doesn’t feel welcome there due to her own white skin. Therefore, Cramblett says she will still pursue the negligence charges against the sperm bank and is due back in court in December.
The sperm bank notes that they provided a full refund for the incorrect sperm that was sent to Cramblett and apologized for the clerical error.
What do you think about the judge’s rulings regarding the “wrongful birth” and “warranty” claims? Do you think the lesbian couple has a negligence claim since the sperm bank admits they made a mistake by sending the wrong man’s sperm to the couple? Do you think Cramblett’s admitted “limited cultural competency” regarding African Americans is a valid reason to sue the sperm bank over the birth of her bi-racial daughter?
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