Whom to blame if the sperm from a sperm bank leads to complications in children?
An American teenager, who was born with a genetic disorder called X syndrome causing mental impairment, has filed a suit against the sperm bank that her mother used to conceive her.
Thirteen-year-old Brittany Donovan from Pennsylvania is suing the sperm bank, Idant Laboratories in New York, after a judge gave her the go-ahead to pursue the case under product liability laws applicable to manufacturing defects.
Donovan does not have to show that Idant was negligent, only that the sperm it provided was unsafe and caused injury, according to NewScientist.
"It doesn't matter how much care was taken," says lawyer Danile Thistle who is representing the teenager.
Genetics tests on the girl confirmed that she inherited the genetic defects from her biological father.
But in Pennsylvania State where she was conceived, she could not pursue the case since a 'blood shield law' gives impunity to sellers of human bodily material from product liability suits. As New York State does not grant such impunity to sperm sellers, federal judge Thomas O'Neill has allowed Donovan to pursue the lawsuit in New York, according to the magazine.
Since this is the first case of its kind in US medical history, sperm banks fear that "this could open the floodgates'' for other sperm recipients to sue them.
Idant Laboratories claim themselves to be the oldest and largest semen banks in the US, pioneering semen banking and developing the technology to ship frozen semen all over the world.
The group also claims to maintain one of the largest human semen banks in the US.