Thursday, October 2, 2014

Donor Sperm Mix-up Lawsuit

I'm sure that most SMC (and most everyone else in the world!) have read or heard about the lesbian couple who chose/ordered white donor sperm and instead got sperm from an African American donor.  They are now suing the sperm bank.  Since I've always been open about being a SMC, sperm donation, etc., friends/family have asked me about my feelings/thoughts on it since I am the only person they know who has used a Donor. Without really siding with or against the couple, I do have some thoughts...

First and foremost, I have always believed that we get the baby we are meant to have.  It took me eight IUIs until I finally got pregnant with Sidekick.  Donor #1 ran out of sperm which devastated me, so I had to switch Donors in the middle of my tries.  Apparently, Donor #2 was meant to be my baby's Donor, not Donor #1.  I truly believe that.

It took me countless hours choosing a Donor.  There were characteristics I was looking for in a Donor, certain diseases/illnesses I immediately eliminated, personality traits I was trying to decipher on paper, etc.  More than anything, if sperm was mixed up, I would be worried about health issues (I eliminated any cancer in Donor's family because cancer runs in my family), but at the same time, there are such strict "regulations" and Donors are not "accepted" if they have any of a long list of illnesses.  So, I  would have to rest assure that the Donor probably has a somewhat clean bill of health and hope that there was no cancer in his family. 

I was terrified the entire time I was pregnant (and even trying to get pregnant) that the sperm would get mixed up.  Terrified!  Why?  I have no idea!  But after a traumatic labor and delivery, Sidekick looked very much like an African American baby when I finally pushed him out... even my mom and best friend who were in the delivery room thought so.  I guess I was exhausted after 23 1/2 hours of labor and 2 1/2 hours of pushing and feeling confused because I was looking for a pretty pink baby... which Sidekick was not even close to being!  He quickly turned to a more healthy color (less blue/purple), and I could see that he was in fact a white baby.  But, for a brief moment I wondered did the sperm get mixed up?

If I received a letter in the mail today or two years from now that the sperm got mixed up, would I care?  Honestly, probably not.  And who I am to say that the sperm didn't get mixed up?!  I have no way of knowing because I have a child that is 100% white.  Maybe the Donor I chose, is not really the Donor I got. The truth of the matter is, I don't really care because I got the baby I am mean to have.

Do I fault the couple for suing the sperm bank?  No. Would I sue?  Probably not.  I have a healthy, happy baby, and I wouldn't have Sidekick if I didn't get the sperm that made him.  I'd have an entirely different baby.  They have a bit of a unique situation in that they ended up with a 50% African American baby, so that puts a different twist on the story, BUT again, there are no guarantees that any of us got the sperm we think we ordered.  We just have to trust.

It's a messy situation, and I feel badly that they didn't get the sperm they thought they were getting.  I don't doubt that they love their beautiful daughter any less.  I do wonder how money really changes what happened.  But, who I am to judge?  Who are any of us to judge? 


  1. I was thinking some of the same things now that I am TTC. My family often jokes about getting the sperm mixed up. Personally I wouldn't care about the race but I would be very worried about any health issues. I was somewhat suprised with this case that the were only suing for $50,000. In today's society I honestly expected them to ask for more. I wonder if they asked for that specific amount hoping that with the publicity that the bank would settle and cut them a check. They stated they were worried about where they lived and how family would react to a half African American child. I have to wonder where they live if the family/community accepts gays/lesbians but would not accept an African American?? I wish them the best....

  2. The concept of a switch has popped in my head multiple times (I watch way too many crime drama tv shows). The thing that would upset me the most is that we would no longer be a part of our donor sibling group. We have a wonderful large group, and I know that isn't common place. Also, I purposely selected an open ID donor, and would be upset if that were no longer the case. Considering I entered the SMC world by attempting to adopt an asian child, I don't think that race would make a huge difference to me, just a shift in effort to find role models (and hair/skin care). However, I see a bunch of the donor in my son, so a switcheroo is pretty unlikely. I've actually been more concerned about it now that I'm trying for number two, I really want them to be full siblings and I know our donor is no longer donating ( I bought and stored vials luckily).