Parents who bought a DNA testing kit as a Christmas present for their daughter say the results have blown a huge hole in their family
The family, from Ohio, made the shocking discovery after receiving the results and now plan to sue the fertility clinic for allegedly swapping out the husband’s sperm when they had treatment at the facility.
Jennifer and Joseph Cartellone, along with their 24-year-old daughter, Rebecca, announced the lawsuit against the Institute of Reproductive Health, at a news conference in Washington.
Joseph told the assembled news outlets: “Never in my worst nightmare did I think that the Christmas gift if DNA testing for my family would unveil this kind of abuse of our trust by the very professionals from whom we sought help.
“This has been extremely difficult for my family. I want to do whatever it takes to make sure no one else had to go through what we did.”
The couple said they believe Rebecca’s father to be one of a handful of men, one of which works at the Christ Hospital, where the couple had their fertility treatment
The lawsuit was filed in Ohio and states that the couple sought treatment in 1994, with the Christ Hospital and that Jennifer’s eggs, removed by the IRH medical director, Dr Sherif Awadalla, would be used along with Joseph’s sperm, but instead a stranger’s sperm was used to fertilise the eggs and the subsequent embryo was implanted back in Jennifer’s uterus.
The family’s lawyers, Peiffer Wolf Carr and Kane, compiled an industry report alongside the lawsuit in which it states that nail salons have more regulation in the US than fertility centres.
It also said there was a crisis in fertility regulation and likened the industry to having a ‘nearly Wild West’ situation.
The news was reported on the USA Today website, which said that the Institute for Reproductive Health has not responded to requests for comment on the lawsuit.