Tort Law

Judge: Sperm Bank Can Be Sued for Product Liability

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled in a novel case that a sperm bank may be sued under product liability laws for failing to detect that a sperm donor had a genetic defect.

The Legal Intelligencer, in an article posted today, reports that Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas N. O’Neill Jr. cleared the way for a 13-year-old mentally retarded girl from Pennsylvania to sue a New York sperm bank. Representatives of the girl claim the sperm used for her conception had a defect known as “Fragile X,” a mutation known to cause mental retardation and behavioral disorders, the paper reports.

“Under New York law, the sale of sperm is considered a product and is subject to strict liability,” O’Neill wrote.

The paper notes that, in the suit, the girl’s mother claims the sperm bank, Idant Laboratories, promised that its donors go through a rigorous screening process that should have detected the genetic defect.

Hat tip Blog of Legal Times.

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