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White mother sues sperm bank after giving birth to African-American baby

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When Jennifer Cramblett gave birth to her baby girl, it was immediately clear the sperm donor was not caucasian, as she and her domestic partner, Amanda Zincon, had requested. Instead, the baby came out bi-racial. As it turns out, the sperm bank had erroneously sent Cramblett vials of sperm from an African-American donor.

Now, two years later, Cramblett is suing the sperm bank for negligence. She says while she wouldn’t change anything about her daughter,  the bank’s mix up will make it difficult for her daughter growing up in a conservative, majority-white Ohio town, and the bank needs to be held accountable for its actions. Cramblett is a lesbian, which she says already makes her family’s situation more difficult.

What are the broader implications of this kind of mistake? How regulated are sperm banks? How would you respond in that situation?


Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., Professor of Medical Ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center