A lesbian couple in Unionstown, Ohio is suing a sperm bank for mistakenly sending them sperm donated by an African-American man when they wanted to have an all-white baby.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Jennifer Cramblett and her partner Amanda Zinkon sued the Midwest Sperm Bank in Cook County Circuit Court on Monday for a mix-up that has left the couple raising a now 2-year-old mixed-race daughter in an all-white town.
When the women were planning the pregnancy, the suit said, they perused multiple donor profiles and chose donor number 380, a white man. Their Ohio doctor received sperm from another donor, number 330. The mistake wasn't discovered until Cramblett's pregnancy was well underway.
Cramblett is suing the company for wrongful birth and breach of warranty, saying that the burden of having a mixed-race baby in all-white Uniontown has damaged her emotionally and financially.
"On August 21, 2012, Jennifer gave birth to Payton, a beautiful, obviously mixed-race baby girl," the lawsuit said. "Jennifer bonded with Payton easily and she and Amanda love her very much. Even so, Jennifer lives each day with fears, anxieties and uncertainty about her future and Payton's future."
Cramblett is from an all-white background. Attorneys said she never met a black person until college. Now, she feels, she and her daughter are aliens in their own community.
"Because of this background and upbringing, Jennifer acknowledges her limited cultural competency relative to African-Americans and steep learning curve, particularly in small, homogenous Uniontown, which she regards as too racially intolerant," said the lawsuit.
Cramblett said she is uncomfortable every time she has to take her daughter to have her hair cut and styled in an African-American neighborhood where the mother "is obviously different in appearance, and not overtly welcome."
Cramblett said that her family is "all-white and culturally insensitive." She worries what impact that is having on her daughter's upbringing. They have a hard enough time, the suit stated, with Cramblett's relationship with another woman.
"Though compelled to repress her individuality amongst family members, Payton's differences are irrepressible, and Jennifer does not want Payton to feel stigmatized or unrecognized due simply to the circumstances of her birth. Jennifer's stress and anxiety intensify when she envisions Payton entering an all-white school," the suit maintained.
The sperm bank sent a letter of apology and a refund for the vials of semen from donor number 330. The mistake took place, the lawsuit said, because the sperm bank kept handwritten records rather than electronic.
Cramblett has said that she intends to relocate to a more racially diverse area for her daughter's benefit. She said she hopes to enroll Payton in a school where she will fit in.