Jennifer and Joseph Cartellone have filed a lawsuit against the Institute for Reproductive Health and Christ Hospital, after the fertility clinic allegedly swapped Joseph’s sperm with the sperm of a stranger.
The couple underwent fertility treatment fertility treatment in 1994 and had their child, Rebecca, later that year. They had no idea that she wasn’t actually their biological child.
Last December, Rebecca got DNA test kits from Ancestry.com. Two months later, she got the results back and found out that she wasn’t related to her father. A paternity test confirmed that finding.
“Through remarkable perseverance, the Cartellone family has traced the likely biological father to one of a handful of individuals – one of whom worked at the Christ Hospital,” the lawsuit says.
“Despite defendants’ gross and obvious misconduct, defendants have refused to make amends for their mistake,” the lawsuit says. The family brought the case “to see answers regarding the circumstances surrounding this troubling event, as well as to seek restitution for the emotional and other harms suffered.”
During the fertility treatments, the couple were promised that the eggs would be fertilized with Joseph’s sperm.
“Instead, the Christ Hospital and the other defendants combined Jennifer’s eggs with the sperm of a complete stranger,” the suit says. “They then transferred the material containing the stranger’s sperm to Jennifer.”
“Never in my worst nightmare did I think that the Christmas gift of DNA testing for my family would unveil this kind of abuse of our trust by the very professionals from whom we sought help,” Joseph Cartellone said. “This has been extremely difficult for my family. I want to do whatever it takes to make sure no one else has to go through what we did.”