White Woman Suing Over Black Sperm Loses Legal Battle

September 8, 2015  |  


Last year, many of us found ourselves taken with the story of the White lesbian couple who were suing the Midwest Sperm Bank for giving them the wrong specimen. You may remember that though the couple asked for sperm from a White, male donor, they received a sample from a Black man. And their daughter Payton is biracial.

The sperm bank issued the women a full refund for the six vials but Jennifer Cramblett, the woman who carried the child, decided to sue. She argued that raising a Black child in the Midwest, where people can be intolerant, presented she and her partner with an additional set of challenges they would not have had to endure if their child were White. They also said that they feared since Payton was going to be attending predominately White school, that she wouldn’t be accepted in the community.

She alleged the mistake on the fault of the sperm bank caused she and her family stress, pain, suffering and medical expenses.

Then, of course, there’s the issue of–to put it in very crass terms–not getting what you pay for.

And while the story garnered tons of attention, Illinois judge, Ronald Sutter, threw the lawsuit out, citing lack of legal merit.

According to The Washington Post, attorneys for the sperm bank argued that “wrongful birth” lawsuits generally involve cases where the child is born with a birth defect that doctors should have warned parents about. Payton, who is now 3, is healthy.

Cramblett also sought compensation for the “breach of warranty.” The judge rejected both claims but said she could refile the suit as a negligence claim.

Cramblett was seeking $50,000 in damages.

I remember when I initially heard this story last year, at first I cringed, misinterpreting it as a racist White woman not being happy with her Black baby.

But then, when I thought about the situation from my own perspective, I saw it differently. If I were mistakenly given sperm from an Asian or Latino man how would I feel? My child would still be Black but then I would have to ensure that my child was raised with both knowledge and appreciation of her other culture. And that is extra work, work both Cramblett and her partner did not anticipate. Furthermore, it’s no secret that being Black in this world can often be more psychologically taxing for a child and his or her parents. It’s not easy for Black parents, who know what it’s like to grow up Black, to raise Black children. I imagine it’s especially difficult for two White women to attempt to do so.

Still, I wonder what Payton will think about this story when she learns her mother sued the sperm bank because she came out Black.

What do you think about this story? Are these two women entitled to damages?

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