A couple from Ohio filed a lawsuit against a fertility doctor and a clinic after they claimed that their daughter was not biologically related to the father who gave her birth.
Jeanine and Mike Harvey visited an Akron City Hospital fertility center in 1991 to help them get pregnant. The couple stated that Dr. Nicholas Spirtos performed intrauterine fertilization – injection of Mike’s Sperm directly into Jeanine’s uterus in order to increase the chance of a pregnancy.
Soon after they got married, Jessica was born. Jessica shared with CBS News’ Consumer Investigative Correspondent Anna Werner her pride in her Italian heritage, particularly her father’s.
Jessica stated, “My whole life, I have been so passionate, proud of my heritage, on both sides, where I come from, how I ancestors got there, and what makes me who I am today.”
She had planned to spend her 30th birthday in Italy. She took the Ancestry DNA test in December 2020 to help her find relatives.
“The test is back, I’m sitting at work, actually, but I opened my eyes and saw some English. There’s Irish, Welsh, German. You know, like, where is the Italian, perhaps Sicilian? What? Jessica said nothing. Jessica said, “My stomach dropped and I knew something was wrong.
She claims that the test did not show any connection to her father. LabCorp also confirmed that she was not related to her father. Her family was shocked by the news.
“I’m like, wait, a minute, I had a stranger’s child for nine months and who is the other half of this child?” Jeanine stated.
The Harveys are suing Dr. Nicholas Spirtos of Summa Health System. They claim that Spirtos used sperm from another man and that the Harveys were undergoing fertility treatment with the doctor at the same time.
Adam Wolf, a family attorney, stated that it shouldn’t have been that a fertility clinic transferred sperm from a stranger into Mrs. Harvey. This is unacceptable. It is not allowed under the law. It is not acceptable in any sense of medical ethics. It shouldn’t ever happen.”
Our requests for comment were not answered by Dr. Spirtos. Summa Health system spokeswoman said that they take the allegation seriously, and are sensitive to the effects it has on the family. We have not yet met with the family nor conducted any testing on our own.
Summa Health System stated that it had “very limited information” but that it was hopeful that the attorneys representing the family would work with them to “make that next step a priority”. This refers to meeting with the family to conduct their own round.
Professor Dov Fox, who heads the University of San Diego’s Center for Health Law, Policy, and Bioethics, stated that these cases can be difficult to win in court.
“Courts often say that if you wanted a child, you got one, even a healthy one. What are you complaining about? What makes you feel worse than you would otherwise? Fox stated.
Fox stated that 24 states ban suing for “wrongful births”. Fox believes parents should have the right to sue for problems related to fertility treatments even if their child is healthy. The Harveys want regulation changes to the fertility industry.
Jessica stated, “It’s almost like a gamble. You shouldn’t be gambling when creating a human being life.”
Jessica spoke to her biological father. He told Jessica he was happy to have a child.