An Ohioan couple are suing a fertility clinic after results from an AncestryDNA test revealed that their daughter is not biologically related to her father.
Mike and Jeanine Harvey, who raised their daughter, Jessica, to be especially proud of her Italian-American heritage, have claimed that the sperm mix-up that occurred when they had IUI treatment has 'harmed their family'. They are suing the clinic where the procedure occurred, now known as the Summa Health System, on the grounds of 'medical malpractice, battery, lack of informed consent, multiple instances of negligence, the failed safeguarding of genetic material, and the list goes on.'
'Without our knowledge, Dr [Nicholas] Spirtos [who performed the procedure] used a stranger's sperm, instead of my husband's' said Jeanine Harvey during a press conference. 'Harvey girls were very rare in the family, so we were so excited. I screamed and scared the doctors half to death when she was born.'
The DNA test kit was initially purchased for Jessica as a Christmas present to help her trace distant relatives in Italy ahead of a trip there. While the family has been left shocked, Mike and Jeanine have insisted that they will always consider Jessica their daughter.
'Learning that your entire reality isn't what you believed it to be is hard to explain; it's sort of waking up in somebody else's life' Mike Harvey told Newsweek. However, he insisted 'I will always be there to support and protect [Jeanine and Jessica]'.
The identity of Jessica's biological father has been revealed via a paternity test as a certain 'Mr Barrett' who, along with his then-wife, was also undergoing treatment at Dr Spirtos' clinic. However, they never had a child.
A statement released by the Summa Health System says: 'We take this allegation seriously and understand the impact this has on the family'. Dr Spirtos, who is also being sued by the Harveys, has not made a comment.
This lawsuit is the most recent in a series of cases of at-home DNA test kits revealing botched insemination procedures. Adam Wolf, the Harvey family's lawyer, described assisted conception as the 'wild west' of medicine, adding: 'How many more people will have to share their heartbreaking stories before our legislators take this problem seriously?'