Defective Sperm Cannot Support a Product Liability Case in 3rd Circuit.

The Third Circuit in Donovan v. Idant Laboratories, has dismissed a products liability suit against a sperm bank. In the suit, plaintiff alleged that the sperm sold by the bank contained genetic defects. Specifically, the sperm was a carrier of Fragile X, a genetic mutation known to cause a group of maladies that include mental retardation and behavioral disorders. The daughter resulting from the sperm donation was diagnosed with the Fragile X defect.

The Court found that the claim was essentially a claim for “wrongful life” which is not cognizable under New York law. New York law applied to the case even though the lawsuit itself was filed in federal court in Philadelphia. The Third Circuit wrote that plaintiff’s claims demand “a comparison between the Hobson’s choice of life in an impaired state and nonexistence . . . [a] comparison the law is not equipped to make.” The Court concluded: “Whether it is better never to have been born at all than to have been born with even gross deficiencies is a mystery more properly to be left to the philosophers and the theologians.”

Special thanks to Mendel Simon for his contributions to this post. If you have any questions, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.

http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/093460np.pdf

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