CINCINNATI - An Ohio couple is suing a fertility clinic after an ancestry DNA kit revealed their 24-year-old daughter was fathered by a stranger.
Joseph and Jennifer Cartellone conceived their daughter Rebecca through in vitro fertilization, according to the New York Post.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, the couple claims that Cincinnati’s Institute for Reproductive Health, The Christ Hospital and Ovation Fertility used sperm that may have been from a hospital doctor during the IVF process in February 1994.
Rebecca purchased the DNA tests as Christmas gifts, her father said during a Wednesday press conference. He said she now feels guilty and confused about her identity following the revelation.
“It’s hard to explain the shock and agony when you find out someone that you love and care for – your own daughter – is not genetically related to you,” Joseph said at the conference on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
He added that his wife is in complete shock and has to deal with knowing the clinic “fertilized her eggs with a complete stranger’s sperm and placed them in her body.”
The family completed additional paternity tests that confirmed Joseph is not Rebecca’s biological father, the family lawyer said.
The Cartellones then used Ancestry.com to narrow down who Rebecca’s biological father could be. They found five possible people, and one of them is a doctor at Christ Hospital.
The family is suing the facilities for breach of contract, battery, negligence and other claims. They are seeking damages and for the facilities to reveal the identity of Rebecca’s father. They want to know how the suspected mistake could have happened.
They also want to know if Joseph’s sperm could have been used on other clients at the clinic.
The Christ Hospital Health Network issued a statement to The Columbus Dispatch. It stated it could not comment on pending litigation but staff are “evaluating the allegations surrounding the events alleged to have occurred in the early 1990s.”
This story was reported from Los Angeles.