Woman who claims Downers Grove sperm bank used wrong sample files federal lawsuit

  • Jennifer Cramblett has sued a Downers Grove sperm bank after she became pregnant with sperm from a black man instead of a white man as she'd intended.

    Jennifer Cramblett has sued a Downers Grove sperm bank after she became pregnant with sperm from a black man instead of a white man as she'd intended. Associated Press/October 2014

Updated 4/27/2016 2:20 PM

An Ohio woman who alleges an error by a Downers Grove sperm bank led to the birth of her biracial daughter has refiled her lawsuit in federal court in Chicago.

Jennifer Cramblett of Uniontown filed the suit last week in U.S. District Court claiming fraud, misconduct and negligence on the part of Midwest Sperm Bank because of the sperm it used to inseminate her in December 2011. The lawsuit demands more than $150,000 in damages.


Federal court is the third venue for the case that originally was filed in November 2014 in Cook County. Soon after it was filed, a judge ruled the case should be moved to DuPage County, where Judge Ronald Sutter dismissed the case in September.

Cramblett's attorneys opted not to refile in DuPage and attorney Thomas Intili, of Dayton, Ohio, said Wednesday he ultimately hopes the federal case will replace the one in DuPage.

"We filed in federal court instead of amending and refiling in Illinois state court simply because we are more familiar with federal court procedure than we are with practice and procedure in Illinois state court," Intili said. "For that reason, we feel we can have the merits of the case dealt with more efficiently in federal court."

According to the new 13-page filing, Cramblett was impregnated through artificial insemination in December 2011. It wasn't until Cramblett, who is white, was five months pregnant that she learned she was accidentally impregnated with the sperm of a black man.

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Cramblett learned of the mix-up when she called to reserve additional vials from the same donor so her partner also could become pregnant.

The lawsuit alleges that the mix-up was a result of the clinic violating FDA regulatory requirements and breaching its contract with Cramblett.

Cramblett selected donor No. 380 after reviewing the man's 23-page profile in August 2011, but instead was given sperm from donor No. 330.

The mistake was discovered in April 2012 when Cramblett called the facility to order several more vials from donor No. 380 and was told she was impregnated by donor No. 330.

Cramblett received a letter from the clinic the following month apologizing for the mix-up and a check, reimbursing her for the additional incorrect vials she received in September 2011.

According to the suit, Cramblett gave birth to a "beautiful, obviously mixed race, baby" girl on August 21, 2012.

Cramblett "is now facing numerous challenges and external pressures associated with an unplanned transracial parent-child relationship for which she was not, and is not, prepared," the suit states.

The sperm bank was not immediately available for comment.

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