A new mom is suing a sperm bank after she gave birth to a child with dwarfism despite choosing a donor who was over six feet tall. The Russian woman, who’s in her 40s, chose the man from profiles listed on the clinic’s website and later underwent successful IVF treatment, but she was in for a surprise when she met her baby.
It happened at a clinic in Moscow. The unnamed woman reportedly said that she specifically chose the donor because she liked the fact that he had a good education, was fair-haired, and was more than six feet tall. Because of this, she expected her child to have many of the same physical characteristics.
Doctors realized something was different later in her pregnancy. It wasn’t until the woman was in her third trimester that doctors realized her baby boy had achondroplasia, an incurable condition which stunts bone growth. It affects one in 25,000 people and can affect the growth of the upper arms and thighs as well as causing crowding of the teeth, a sunken nose, a protruding jaw, and a prominent forehead, according to UNILAD.
The condition was confirmed after she gave birth. Doctors told the woman that her son would never grow any taller than four feet tall and that his facial features would also be affected by his condition, though in what ways weren’t immediately clear.
The court had to step in. The mother filed a lawsuit against the Danish sperm bank Cryos in Russia because she wanted others to be aware of the risks they were taking by using their sperm. The Koptevsky District Court eventually decided to block the website which hosts the profiles of the donors.
Health watchdog Roszdravnadzor doesn’t think the judgment went far enough. In fact, the organization says that “it is not possible to confirm the reliability of the information received” by the bank in regards to the donor’s family tree, results of a medical examination, and more. In other words, the profile may not have been legit.
Apparently, donors are screened… within limits. According to the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, the clinic does screen for 46 of the most common recessive genetic diseases, but they also insist they’re not responsible for how the sperm is handled or administered once it leaves their premises. Basically, they want to pass the blame to the clinic where the woman got her IVF treatment rather than the sperm itself, which makes no sense given that mishandling of sperm isn’t likely to cause a genetic issue, right?
Then again, it may not be the clinic’s fault. As per the NHS, achondroplasia is a random condition that can affect absolutely anyone, as it occurs during the formation of egg or sperm. The mother and the donor could have had recessive genes that then played out when they came together. Who can say?
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