A couple is suing a defunct Connecticut fertility clinic, claiming the staff gave them the wrong embryos and they ended up with a baby of a different race.
The saga begins in 2015 when the plaintiffs underwent in vitro fertilization at CT Fertility in Trumbull, using sperm from the husband and donor eggs to conceive their first child, according to court papers.
They returned to the clinic in 2017 hoping to have a second child, using the embryos left over from the original IVF treatment, and in August 2018 gave birth to a baby boy, the lawsuit says.
But the couple soon suspected something was amiss. The new baby did not resemble his older brother and “appeared to have much darker skin pigmentation,” according to court documents.
The suit, which was first reported by the Connecticut Post, says a few months after the birth, the couple had DNA tests performed on both children. They discovered that the husband is not the biological father of the younger baby, who is not the full sibling of their older child.
“While their second-born son is loved and healthy in every aspect, he is not in fact their biological baby,” they wrote.
The suit does not make clear how the alleged mix-up happened but says the parents have suffered emotional anguish.
“As a result of what has occurred, the plaintiffs are left with potential life-long haunting uncertainties regarding their second-born son... and unknowns about what happened to their genetic material and where their genetic material ended up.
“Is it actually their genetic material that is now in storage? Whose genetic material was transferred to plaintiff? Will someone one day attempt to make a claim to custody of their child?”
The couple—who have since moved to London—said they “are barraged daily with questions and suspicions regarding who the child’s real father is and even whether plaintiff mother had an affair... and other ignorant and cruel harassment, for which the plaintiffs did not bargain.”
Attorneys for CT Fertility, which has since closed, and Dr. Melvin Thornton, who now works for another clinic, attempted to get the malpractice lawsuit thrown out on procedural grounds—arguing an expert cited by the couple was the wrong kind of doctor and had failed to show negligence.
A staffer at Thornton’s new clinic says he was involved in the transfer of the frozen embryos but a different doctor handled the creation of them. “He came in after the embryos were created,” she said.
The couple, meanwhile, have requested that the case be sealed to protect their child. The clinic has objected, saying the use of pseudonyms would prejudice a jury against it.
If anonymity was granted, “the court would elevate the air of stigmatization in the case to something more serious than the actual allegations plead,” the defendants wrote.
The judge has yet to rule on the matter.