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White couple suing clinic after giving birth to Asian daughter in IVF mixup

A New Jersey judge has ordered a fertility clinic to release a list of sperm donors to a White couple who gave birth to an Asian daughter in an IVF mixup, Yahoo reports.  

Kristina Koedderich and Drew Wasilewski are suing The Insitute for Reproductive Medicine at St. Barnabas, seeking monetary damages and biological information on their daughter’s biological father. 

According to The New Jersey Law Journal, the couple claims that a DNA test revealed the child’s genetic makeup was associated with Southeast Asian heritage, with no possibility Wasilewski was the biological father. The parents said they want to learn more about her medical history; neither of them carry a blood disorder their child was found to have inherited.  

Koedderich and Wasilewski turned to St. Barnabas after having trouble conceiving. NPR reports that the couple spent nearly $500,000 in the process before their daughter was born in 2013 after in vitro fertilization. 

“To go through all the shots, all of the treatments, spend all of that money, and be lucky enough to have a child but then find out it’s not 100% your child … it’s inexcusable. It should never happen,” the parents’ attorney David Mazie said.

Mazie said the girl is entitled to develop a relationship with her biological father and know more of her own genetic health history, including if there are any medical disorders. He added to the New York Post that the parents love their daughter very much, but “it’s a very sensitive and very stressful situation for them.”

Koedderich and Wasilewski divorced in 2017. According to The New Jersey Law Journal, documents list the sperm mixup as a substantial factor in the breakdown of the couple’s marriage.

CBS reports that both Koedderich and Wasilewski wonder how the daughter they now co-parent will react to the situation of her conception.  

“It’s upsetting and I don’t know how she’s going to take it, if she’s going to be upset [or] not,” Wasilewski said in an interview with GMA. “I want to be able to say, ‘I did everything in my power, or our power, to find out who your father really is.’”  

He and Koedderich are also concerned about what was done with the sperm he gave the clinic. If it was used to father other children, Wasilewski said he would like to have a relationship with them. 

“I think, as children, you want to know who — who and where you came from,” Wasilewski said in his deposition, NJ.com reports. “And — I believe I’m a very good person. And I’d like them to know who I am, as a person, learn about me as much as I learned about my mother and father…”

In a statement to CBS, the St. Barnabas clinic said that “the integrity of our treatment processes are paramount and we are taking this matter very seriously.” 

According to Yahoo, until the judge’s ruling on Aug. 28, the clinic had been fighting the lawsuit on the grounds of patient privacy. But Essex County Superior Court Judge Keith Lynott ruled that the clinic doesn’t need to release the names or addresses of all the donors, just the man whose sperm was used in the process.

Mazie said the judge’s decision is “a significant ruling” because law protecting patient privacy is often “seen as an iron curtain.” 

Even if the lawsuit prevails, though, it can’t fix the damage that’s been done, Mazie told CBS. However, he hopes the case can result in widespread procedural changes. 

The fertility industry in the United States is a billion dollar business, but no governmental agency currently regulates the industry as a whole, GMA reports.

“We’re looking for this to never, ever happen again to another couple,” Mazie said. “We want not only this center but the industry to take charge of what it’s doing.”

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