When purchasing a used car, a Ginsu knife, a set of restaurant-grade cookware (well, what, that warehouse club demonstration was impressive!), the very first thing we check for is a warranty. And if we don’t (like oh, I don’t know…yours truly), we get it but good from their loved ones upon bringing it home. The reception would be more welcoming for the pampered family cat, who suddenly remembered her roots and dropped an uninsured field mouse in our slippers.
In fact, acquiring said family cat, we ought to be on a lookout for a breeder’s warranty.
First few months to a year, the kitten’s general health and well-being (barring unforeseen illnesses and / or accidents clearly the fault of the buyer) is pretty much fully insured, guaranteeing a problem-free growth — and a free similar-caliber kitten should the first not quite develop to our satisfaction (nevermind getting attached to your little guy, at least, we know we can always trade him / her in for a better model).
Then, for those of us in the market for a breeding cat, be it a tom or a queen, the contract is appended with a fertility clause. If our investment comes of age and it’s bred (breeding documented by impartial observers) — and the creature refuses to cough up MiniMe’s, there’s still that option to exchange. Obviously, the contract ingeniously states, the unsatisfied customers get the pick of the first closest-matched litter.
So, shelling out for a beaker of sperm, ha, who wouldn’t want USDA Grade A, Certified Organic?
And if we, ourselves, are, in fact, the goal, the… end product of this beaker of sperm, well, it stands to reason we’d be offended at springing up from a less than 100% imperfection-free batch.
Brittany Donovan of Pennsylvania, then 13 years old, sued her de facto “grandparent”, Idant Laboratories out of New York, one of – if not the largest semen repository in US, currently at the forefront of semen banking and technological advancements in shipping frozen semen all over the world – for providing her mother with faulty sperm, one determined to be responsible for her Fragile X syndrome.
Funny that a likely mentally-handicapped young teen actually possesses enough faculties to initiate the proceedings. Seriously, wouldn’t it have been more upfront for her birth mother or relations, who will probably be named by the courts as the trustees of whatever settlement their charge stands to receive in case of a favorable ruling, to kickstart the suit instead of playing on the finer sensibilities of those responsible for keeping it alive within our court systems? But that isn’t even really the point.
What IS the point is that Brittany — or rather her lawyer — doesn’t even need to prove negligence on the part of Idant. It was caught selling faulty parts (notwithstanding whether or not they could have tested the donated sperm for this particular carrier gene at the time of the transaction or if they even offered the full possible battery of tests on their product and didn’t deliver), it should answer for its involvement in what in the normal run of things would simply have been chalked up to the word of God, karma, or what have you.
I might be in the minority, but unless each particular condition is otherwise specified, I believe it falls to the parents (in this case, one parent) to take care of whatever genetic testing they want and can feasibly afford if they, like me, are counting on science to shore up their bet for a healthiest possible offspring.
Unfortunately, now that the floodgates to proceed with the litigation — and do so in NY, the state that does not have a “blood shield law” protecting sellers of human bodily material from product liability suits — have been opened by one kindhearted judge who clearly does not share my opinion, it isn’t hard to imagine the sheer numbers and sorts of new lawsuits gearing up as we speak to further clog our choked up court system.
At the same time, I can, also, imagine the pain she and her family is going through, their desperate search for answers.
So, I will just end this with an open message to the young girl.
I am sorry for what your genetic disorder has you going through, Brittany. Whether or not you win, if in fact it’s been really you who’d chosen to get this ball rolling, I hope, taking charge of your life and talking this out with your council (or anyone) has made you feel more confident in facing anything else to come your way with just a little more contentment and wisdom.