A couple is suing a fertility clinic in Trumbell, Connecticut, claiming the facility gave them the wrong embryo, which resulted in their having a child who is not biologically related to them and does not appear to be of the same race.
The parents — who asked the Connecticut Post to remain anonymous to protect their child — filed suit in October 2018 against the clinic, which has since closed, as well as their doctor, Melvin Thorton II.
According to the lawsuit obtained by PEOPLE, the couple, who had “been unable to conceive on their own,” first visited the clinic in January 2015 and decided to freeze embryos using the husband’s sperm as well as eggs from a donor.
The couple went on to welcome their first child on April 19, 2016.
The lawsuit states that the couple began the in vitro fertilization process again that September, when the fertility clinic and their doctor conducted a “second egg retrieval cycle” from the same donor they had used for their first child. The couple “clearly, unequivocally and repeatedly” indicated in their records that they wanted to use the same donor “to ensure their desire to have full-siblings.”
After several failed IVF attempts, the mother became pregnant, and on Aug. 22, 2018, she gave birth to their second child.
However, the parents quickly had doubts about the genetic background of their newborn.
“Their second child appeared to have a much darker skin pigmentation [than] either the father, the genetic mother or their first child which was extremely unexpected and perplexing as the children were supposed to have the same genetic makeup,” the suit states, according to Connecticut Post.
Less than two months after the child was born, the couple contracted an outside lab to perform DNA tests, which revealed that the two children were not full siblings, as the couple had “hoped expected and relied upon,” the lawsuit states.
According to the test results cited in the lawsuit, the husband “is not the biological father” of their second child.
An attorney for Dr. Thorton and the fertility clinic said they had no comment due to pending litigation, while an attorney for the parents did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.
“While their second-born son is loved and healthy in every aspect,” the parents, who reside in the U.K., live with “constant, nagging and debilitating fear” the child’s sperm donor will one day seek custody of the child, court papers say, according to the New York Post.
Additionally, they “have suffered financial loss and severe emotional distress” and also “have reason to believe” the clinic lost the “embryos belonging to them, with no knowledge as to whether it has been transferred to another person,” the lawsuit states.
“The plaintiffs are entitled to be reimbursed by the defendant for all fees, costs and expenses reasonably incurred in the participation of IVF treatments with defendant in the approximate amount of $200,000,” the suit states.
According to online court records, the case isn’t scheduled to go to trial until September 2021.
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