A white woman is suing a sperm bank for wrongful birth and breach of warranty citing “emotional distress” and “economic loss” after having a half-Black baby as a result of receiving the wrong donor’s sperm.
Jennifer Cramblett of Uniontown, Ohio says that she and her domestic partner chose a specific white donor at Midwest Sperm Bank so that their baby could look like them. Instead, she was mistakenly delivered the wrong vile of sperm — one that happened to belong to a Black man. Cramblett and her partner were “shocked” to learn of the error once she was already pregnant. No one caught the snafu until she requested more sperm from the donor she thought was used to inseminate her; it was then that her doctor discovered that there had been a mix up and that the donor of the baby she was carrying was Black.
The sperm bank uses a paper filing system instead of electronic records which they say could be partially to blame for the error. “To the person who sent Jennifer vials of sperm in September 2011, the number ‘380’ looked like ‘330,’ and there are no redundancies to catch errors like the one the defendant made with respect to Jennifer Cramblett,” reads the lawsuit. They issued her a written apology and a refund for the six viles of sperm she received. But for Cramblett, who alleges it’s been extremely difficult and stressful to raise a mixed-race baby, that’s not enough.
“On August 21, 2012, Jennifer gave birth to Payton, a beautiful, obviously mixed-race baby girl,” the lawsuit, obtained by NBC, states. “Jennifer bonded with Payton easily and she and Amanda love her very much. Even so, Jennifer lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and Payton’s future.” Payton, is now 2 years old and court papers say she’s already experiencing prejudice in Uniontown, where 98 percent of the residents are white. Cramblett’s therapists have advised her that for her and her child’s psychological well-being, she must relocate to a racially diverse community with good schools, according to the suit. While the lawsuit does not specify any damages, her lawyers say that the money sought is so that the couple can move.
But even past a relocation there are more troubling aspects to this story as laid out by the lawsuit. Cramblett acknowledges that she did not encounter any African-American people until she entered college and not all her friends and family members are racially sensitive. “Because of this background and upbringing, Jennifer acknowledges her limited cultural competency relative to African-Americans and steep learning curve, particularly in small, homogenous Uniontown, which she regards as too racially intolerant,” the lawsuit continues.
Cramblett also has concerned about the day to day responsibilities of raising her mixed-race child, like getting her hair done and teaching her about her heritage. Some of her anxieties include having to travel to a Black neighborhood to get her daughter’s hair done.
“Getting a young daughter’s hair cut is not particularly stressful for most mothers,” the lawsuit says, “but to Jennifer it is not a routine matter, because Payton has hair typical of an African American girl. 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.”
Given her personal background and community of choice do you think Cramblett is wrong for this lawsuit? What should be done from here in the best interest of the child? Sound off!