The Court of Appeals of Georgia (“Georgia Appellate Court”) affirmed the dismissal of a claim against a sperm bank for the birth of a child with mental health issues, in its decision dated June 21, 2019. The Georgia Appellate Court held that the parents’ claims were for wrongful birth, which is not recognized as a cause of action in Georgia.
The Georgia medical malpractice plaintiffs alleged that they had purchased sperm from the defendant sperm bank from “Donor #9623,” who had been regularly selling his sperm to the defendant sperm bank since October 2000. The plaintiffs’ son was born in June 2002 and was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at age nine and with an inherited blood disorder. They further alleged that their son had suicidal and homicidal ideations and had been prescribed various medications including anti-depressants and an anti-psychotic.
The Georgia medical malpractice plaintiffs alleged that Donor #9623 had completely fabricated his sperm donor application with the defendant sperm bank, including that he had an IQ of 160, multiple college degrees, a clean mental health history, and no criminal background. Donor #9623 allegedly did not obtain a college degree until 2015; had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a drug induced psychotic disorder, and significant grandiose delusions; had been repeatedly hospitalized for mental health reasons; had committed a residential burglary in 2005 for which he spent eight months in custody; and, allegedly had been arrested for other crimes.
The trial court dismissed most of the plaintiffs’ claims, finding that the plaintiffs sought and desired the conception that resulted in the birth of their son and therefore the complaint did not allege a wrongful pregnancy but rather a wrongful birth: “Georgia law recognizes only those claims in which the alleged negligence resulted in undesired conception.” “Wrongful pregnancy” or “wrongful conception” actions are those “brought by the parents of a child whose conception or birth was due to the negligence of a physician in performing a sterilization or abortion.”
The Georgia Appellate Court stated: “All of the Appellants claims directly relate to the fact that, had they known the health, educational and criminal history of Donor #9623, they would not have purchased his sperm from the Appellees. As the Supreme Court of Georgia stated “we are unwilling to say that life, even life with severe impairments, may ever amount to a legal injury.” This is a task best addressed by the Georgia General Assembly. Based on the foregoing, the trial court did not err in granting in part and denying in part the Appellees’ motion to dismiss.”
Source Norman v. Xytex Corporation, A19A0445.
If your baby was born with severe disabilities that may have been discovered if appropriate testing was timely done during your pregnancy, you may have the basis for a medical malpractice wrongful birth claim. Obtaining the legal advice from a local medical malpractice attorney may help you decide if you may and should proceed with a medical malpractice wrongful birth case.
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