A lesbian couple from Ohio looking to start a family went to a sperm bank in the western suburbs to find their ideal donor, a man whose “genetic traits” were similar to their own.
But Jennifer Cramblett and her partner, Amanda Zinkon, who are white, are now the parents of a mixed-race girl after a Downers Grove sperm bank mixed up Cramblett’s donor selection, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court.
Cramblett and Zinkon decided to start a family in June 2011. The two planned to each get pregnant at separate times, with the same sperm donor being the biological father of both children. Cramblett, who is older and has better health insurance, opted to get pregnant first, according to the lawsuit.
In August, they decided to buy two vials of Midwest Sperm Bank Donor No. 380’s sperm and Cramblett underwent artificial insemination.
But she didn’t get pregnant, and so the next month, Cramblett called the office to purchase six more vials of sperm. The receptionist asked Cramblett to confirm that her donor was No. 330.
Cramblett corrected her, saying it was actually Donor No. 380. The receptionist hesitated, then said “Oh yes, I see you need No. 380,” the suit stated.
On Dec. 24, 2011, Cramblett learned that she was pregnant. In April 2012, she called the sperm bank to order more vials of Donor No. 380’s sperm because she and Zinkon were still planning on having another child. She spoke to the same receptionist again, the suit stated.
The receptionist said “Okay, you want eight vials from Donor No. 330,” and Cramblett corrected her, telling her that she needed vials from Donor No. 380.
The receptionist asked her if she had requested an African-American donor, and Cramblett replied “No, why would I request that? My partner and I are Caucasian. You know that from our profiles,” the suit stated.
The next month, Cramblett received a letter from the sperm bank apologizing for the ”mix up,” the suit stated. In the next few months, Cramblett learned that the sperm bank’s records are not kept electronically, but in pen and ink, the suit stated.
“To the person who sent Jennifer vials of sperm in September 2011, the number ‘380’ looked like ‘330,’ ” the suit stated.
Their daughter, Payton, was born on Aug. 21, 2012.
Midwest Sperm Bank could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.
The two-count suit alleges wrongful birth and breach of contract. It seeks more than $100,000 in damages.