A WHITE couple are suing a fertility clinic after their daughter was born with “Asian features” – making the husband suspect his wife had cheated on him.
And after a DNA test proved the husband was definitely not the dad, the couple, who have now divorced, are suing the clinic in America for more than £400,000.
The parents want to know whose sperm was used in the alleged mix-up so they can learn about their now-six-year-old daughter’s genetic history — and in case she wants to have a relationship with her biological dad in future.
Kristina Koedderich and Drew Wasilewski went to the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas, New Jersey, in 2012.
They spent £400,000 (US$500,000) for IVF treatment, according to papers filed in Essex County Superior Court.
Their daughter was born in 2013 and “a couple years later, they noticed the baby started having Asian features,” the couple’s attorney David Mazie of Mazie, Slater, Katz & Freeman, told the New York Post.
A DNA test in 2015 confirmed that there was “0% probability” that Drew, 49, was his daughter’s biological father, according to the lawsuit.
The clinic’s negligence caused “the breakdown of the marriage between Kristina and Drew Wasilewski,” the suit claims.
Kristina and Drew told the Post they “didn’t know what to think” when their daughter developed “Asian features”.
Drew, 49, added: “The hospital said this couldn’t possibly happen, and there was no fault on their part.
“I started wondering, ‘has my wife been cheating on me?’ What on earth is going on here?”
Kristina, 47, said the effect on their marriage was “just horrific”.
Drew added: “I don’t want this to ever happen to anyone else because it has been so difficult.
“The last four years have been a nightmare. Why would someone deserve this when they are just trying to have a child of their own?”
After their daughter was born, and appeared to be Asian, they initially “really just blew it off because we were just so glad to have a child,” Kristina added.
Everywhere we would go, even strangers would say, ‘Where did you adopt her?’
Drew, who works as a driver for Coca-Cola, said: “She was healthy [so] we didn’t really focus on anything apart from how beautiful she was.”
But, two years after she was born, her appearance began drawing questions from curious strangers, which made them feel “horrible”.
Kristina, a medical technologist, explained: “Everywhere we would go, even strangers would say, ‘Where did you adopt her?’
“They just blatantly asked, even in shopping malls and places like that.”
The couple have a son who looks more like them, and he added to the curiosity as people “compared her to him,” said Drew.
Now aged ten, their boy was conceived using fertility treatments, but not IVF.
Superior Court Judge Keith Lynott last month ordered the institute to hand over a list of men who donated sperm around the same time the couple used the facility — in the hopes of narrowing down who the girl’s biological father is.
Mazie said: “They love her very much, but it’s a very sensitive and very stressful situation for them.”
They also want to know if Drew’s semen was used for someone else’s IVF treatment.
The couple are seeking unspecified monetary damages, saying the clinic’s mistake caused “great pain, suffering, permanent injuries and disabilities, as well as the loss of enjoyment of the quality of life.”
CLINIC: “EXAMINING ALLEGATION”
Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science spokesman Ronn Torossian said the clinic is “thoroughly examining the alleged incident.
“The integrity of our treatment processes are paramount and we are taking this matter very seriously.”
The recent court order has “broad implications potentially affecting many more people than the immediate parties involved,” he added.
The amount the couple paid for their IVF was probably closer to ten per cent of the £400,000 they are claiming, the clinic said.
In a statement to ABC 7, Sally Malech, spokesperson for the Saint Barnabas Medical Center said: “This matter involves a private group in litigation. RWJ Barnabas Health does not comment on matters in litigation.”
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A few months ago, a couple who had a baby of a different race after a US fertility doctor allegedly mixed up their embryo lodged a lawsuit.
The unnamed husband and wife, who now live in the UK, said they have been left with “haunting uncertainties” about their second son’s true ancestry.
And in another shocking case, a sick doctor had his medical licence revoked after he used his own sperm to artificially inseminate patients at his fertility clinic.
It is thought between 50 and 100 children were fathered by Dr Norman Barwin, now 80, or by strangers – all without their parents knowing.