A DNA test kit gifted for Christmas led to shocking news for one Ohio family when a couple found out that one of their children was fathered by a stranger.
Representatives for the law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise told Newsweek that the Ohio-based couple, whose names and identities were not provided, were former fertility patients and plan to sue Summa Health System, along with one of their active physicians, for allegedly inseminating the woman with a stranger’s sperm in what attorneys called a “botched procedure.”
“The couple thought they had undergone an intrauterine insemination procedure using the husband’s own genetic material, as was promised,” attorneys said, alleging that further testing revealed that the sperm came from another patient.
The family and their attorneys will be present when the lawsuit is announced Wednesday in the Court of Common Pleas in Summit County, Ohio.
“As DNA tests gain in popularity, countless instances of fertility misconduct have come to light,” said a statement from the law firm provided to Newsweek. “These cases highlight the largely unregulated nature of the U.S. assisted reproductive technology industry. While a handful of states have enacted new laws to protect patients, there is no comprehensive federal oversight of the industry. U.S. nail salons are subject to far tighter state and federal controls.”
CNET reported that as of September 2021, Ancestry.com had 16 million user profiles while 23andMe had 10 million profiles. Ancestry, which says it has over 30 billion records in more than 80 countries, acquired the French genealogy company Geneanet.
Summa Health System and one of its doctors will be subjects of a lawsuit to be announced on Wednesday allegedly that the doctor inseminated a woman with a stranger’s sperm. A picture of Summa Health System’s campus in Akron, Ohio.
At the center of the lawsuit is a doctor named Nicholas Spirtos, who attorneys said was the chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and In Vitro Fertilization/Embryo Transfer at Summa Health System’s-Akron Campus.
Summa Health’s website currently shows Spirtos, whose “specialties” involve reproductive endocrinology and infertility, as currently accepting appointments.
Mike Bernstein, Summa Health’s corporate communications system director, provided the following statement to Newsweek about the impending lawsuit:
“We are aware of an allegation that has been made claiming in 1991 a patient was artificially inseminated with the semen from a person who is not her husband,” Bernstein said. “We take this allegation seriously and understand the impact this has on the family. At this point, we have not met with the family or conducted testing of our own. Given the very limited information that we have and the amount of time that has passed, it remains our hope that the attorneys representing the family will work with us to make that next step a priority.”
Situations like these are not entirely uncommon.
A woman in Spain sued local health authorities last year after discovering she had been mistakenly swapped at birth nearly 20 years earlier when two baby girls were allegedly mixed up by accident after being born five hours apart in a hospital in La Rioja.
That lawsuit was also spurred by the use of a DNA test, which detected the alleged error and caused the woman in question to find she was not genetically related to her parents.