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(NEW YORK) — A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against a fertility clinic and associated laboratories alleging their two kids are not their full biological children because allegedly, the wrong sperm was used during the in-vitro fertilization process.
Camille and Derrick Bryan claim in a lawsuit filed Feb. 8 in a district court in Texas that they learned through DNA tests last August that Derrick Bryan is not the biological father of their young son and daughter, who are both under the age of 7.
The Bryans’ attorney, Tommy Hastings, told ABC News the couple decided to test their children’s DNA last year after a pediatrician noticed a type of birthmark on their son’s back known as a dermal melanocytosis. The birthmarks, formerly known as Mongolian blue spots, are most common “among people of Asian, Native American, Hispanic, East Indian, and African descent,” according to the National Institutes of Health.
“The pediatrician made an offhand comment about, ‘Oh, which of you have Asian heritage?,’ and [Camille] said, ‘Neither of us,'” said Hastings, founder of the Hastings Law Firm, adding, “So that’s what got the curiosity piqued.”
Hastings said Bryans initially sought a DNA test for their son, using both of their DNA.
“It came back 99.99% that [Camille Bryan] is the mom and 0% that [Derrick Bryan] is the dad,” said Hastings, adding that Bryans subsequently undertook a DNA test for their daughter, which also returned a 0% paternal result for Derrick Bryan.
The Bryans’ lawsuit names a Fort Worth-based fertility clinic and one of its doctors and four IVF-focused laboratories associated with them, alleging the defendants “recklessly, negligently, or intentionally mishandled the sperm and allowed an unknown donor to be used to fertilize Camille’s eggs.”
The lawsuit was first reported by local ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.
The Bryans, who declined to be interviewed, claim in the lawsuit that in 2015, they visited the doctor named in the suit, Dr. Robert Kaufmann, at his practice, Fort Worth Fertility, where Camille Bryan’s eggs were harvested and Derrick Bryan’s sperm was collected “in preparation for IVF.”
In the IVF process, ovulation is induced and eggs are removed from a patient’s ovaries. The eggs are then fertilized with sperm outside of the body, and the resulting embryos are either placed in the patient’s uterus or are stored in a laboratory for future use, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
In January 2016, according to the lawsuit, Camille had her “eggs fertilized” at a laboratory “in or near Dr. Kauffman’s office.”
Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Camille Bryan underwent an embryo placement. She gave birth nine months later to a boy, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says Camille Bryan underwent a second embryo transfer in October 2018 and nine months later gave birth to a girl.
The lawsuit states it was “either impossible or exceedingly difficult” for the Bryans to know before the DNA tests they took last year that Derrick Bryan’s “sperm was not used in the fertilization process.”
The Bryans are requesting a trial by jury and seeking monetary damages of over $1 million, according to the lawsuit.
Fort Worth Fertility told ABC News in a statement issued on behalf of both the clinic and Kaufmann that it is not commenting on the lawsuit.
“Our counsel has recommended against commentary on allegations, but welcomes the opportunity to fully and fairly develop the facts in the appropriate forum,” Fort Worth Fertility in a statement. “Fort Worth Fertility, P.A. has provided state of the art clinical services to hundreds of grateful families, and looks forward to continuation of its mission of assistance and support of its patients.”
Kaufmann’s bio on the clinic’s website says he is board-certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility as well as obstetrics and gynecology and has “over 18 years of experience as an infertility specialist.”
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