Last week, a Georgia court dismissed a lawsuit filed against a sperm bank and a sperm donor who allegedly engaged in some foul play in selling their product. The suit, filed in March by Canada residents Angela Collins and Margaret Elizabeth Hanson, accused Xytex Corporation of misleading its customers as to the true nature of the sperm’s donor. Specifically, Collins and Hanson alleged that Xytex employees informed them that their donor was “smart, healthy and mature” when in fact he was schizophrenic, dropped out of college, and had been arrested for burglary. We assume Hanson and Collins started looking ahead to their baby’s teenage years and didn’t like what they saw. We also assume that they are unfamiliar with Steve Jobs.
The suit contained causes of action for fraud, negligence, and product liability. In his order, Fulton County Judge Robert McBurney determined that each claim was “rooted in the concept of wrongful birth,” which is not recognized under Georgia law. Nonetheless, Judge McBurney noted the complicated issues presented by the development of reproductive science, stating:
Science has once again – as it always does – outstripped the law. Plaintiffs make a compelling argument that there should be a way for parties aggrieved as these Plaintiffs are to pursue negligence claims against a service provider in pre-conception services. After all, the human life that makes the calculus so complicated has not yet begun when would-be parents are working with companies such as Xytex.
We here at Abnormal Use wholeheartedly agree with Judge McBurney’s decision. The viability of wrongful birth claims aside, the birth of a child is always a crapshoot whether conceived naturally or through artificial means. The beauty of life is its randomness and unpredictability. While we have made strong progress in genetic research, there is no way to accurately predict everything about a new life. Nonetheless, parents love and care for their children regardless of their child’s health history or their susceptibility to making good or bad life choices. It is a part of life. We can’t outwit it regardless of whether we conceive naturally or through the aid of a sperm bank.
Given the unpredictability of life, we question whether obtaining inaccurate (or even fraudulent) information from a sperm bank should warrant a valid claim. This can of worms none of us wants to open.