Published by NY POST
August 8, 2019 | 6:52pm
An Ohio couple who conceived their now-24-year-old daughter via in vitro fertilization was stunned when home DNA kits revealed their girl was actually fathered by a complete stranger, according to a new lawsuit.
Joseph and Jennifer Cartellone claim that unbeknownst to them, Cincinnati’s Institute for Reproductive Health, The Christ Hospital and Ovation Fertility, used sperm that may have come from a hospital doctor during their February 1994 IVF process, according to the suit, filed Wednesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
“It’s hard to explain the shock and agony when you find out that someone you love and care for — your own daughter — is not genetically related to you,” Joseph Cartellone said at a Washington DC news conference.
“There’s a mix of anger, pain and confusion that comes along with having to accept this and having to break the news to our family,” he added, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
The couple’s daughter, Rebecca Cartellone, who is a co-plaintiff in the suit, feels guilty about buying the DNA test gifts as Christmas gifts and is confused about her identity, Joseph said.
Meanwhile, his wife Jennifer is in shock.
“She has to deal with the fact that this clinic… fertilized her eggs with a complete stranger’s sperm and placed them in her body,” Joseph said.
“She’s profoundly disappointed that she can no longer give birth to a child with both of our genetics,” he continued. “And that’s exactly why we sought the help of doctors … in the first place.”
Additional paternity tests confirmed that Cartellone isn’t Rebecca’s dad, lawyers for the family said.
The Cartellones said they used Ancestry.com to narrow down Rebecca’s potential biological dad to five people — one of whom was a doctor at Christ Hospital.
The family is suing for breach of contract, battery, negligence and other charges. They are seeking damages and for the facilities to reveal who fathered Rebecca and how the alleged mishap occurred.
They also want to know if Joseph’s sperm was used by another of the clinic’s clients.
The Christ Hospital Health Network said in a statement to The Columbus Dispatch that it is “evaluating the allegations surrounding events alleged to have occurred in the early 1990s” and can’t comment on pending litigation.
The Institute for Reproductive Health, which houses Ovation Fertility Cincinnati, didn’t return messages from the Dispatch.
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