A Cincinnati fertility clinic is in hot water with an Ohio family who recently uncovered a bombshell after using an at home DNA test purchased through Ancestry.com.
Turns out, their 24-year-old daughter is not genetically related to her father. Her mother’s egg was fertilized with a stranger’s sperm.
The family had zero hunches or suspicions. Instead, like so many other families intrigued by the popularity of at-home DNA kits, they decided to order them over the holidays as a fun way to see their genetic lineage – learn a little bit more about who they are and where they came from.
Yet, what they found out was far more than they bargained for.
The results from Ancestry.com revealed that their daughter is not biologically related to her father.
They received the results in January and right away they knew something was off.
“When we looked at the results, what we immediately noticed was that that there were no traces of Italian DNA in [Rebecca’s results] at all,” Cartellone told Good Morning America in an interview.
In addition, “her DNA matched my wife’s pretty closely.”
You can imagine the shockwaves this sent through the close-knit family of three. Especially when they later learned their daughter’s biological father might be a physician at the fertility clinic.
At first, they thought there must be some big misunderstanding. They reached out to the maker of the DNA kit explaining that they thought there must be some inaccuracy in their test results.
Yet, after the test maker walked Mr. Cartellone through the process, he was convinced the results could actually be accurate. To confirm, he underwent a paternity test which showed he is not his daughter’s biological father.
“My disbelief turned quickly to shock and then ultimately to anger that this could possibly be the case,” Cartellone said.
The official lawsuit for the Cartellone family states that the family “turned to assisted reproductive technology” in 1994 because they were unable to fulfill their dreams of expanding their family otherwise.
The Cincinnati clinic vowed to use the mother’s egg and father’s sperm to create an embryo that would then be transferred to Jennifer’s uterus. The ordeal was successful, and all seemed great for 24 years… until the fateful Ancestry DNA test kit results arrived in the mail.
The results made it evident that Joseph Cartellone is not the biological father of his daughter.
The family is now suing the fertility clinic for breach of contract, negligence and additional charges. In addition, they are seeking damages and further investigation into the clinic’s practices, as well as the true identity of Rebecca’s biological father, along with his full medical history.
According to the family’s lawyers, Mr. Cartellone has taken a paternity test that further proves he is not Rebecca’s biological father.
Ancestry.com has given the family a few potential options for who Rebecca’s biological father may be.
Interestingly enough, one of them happens to work as a physician at the Christ Hospital fertility clinic where the Cartellone family went in the nineties.
The Christ Hospital remains quiet on the matter and has yet to release a statement.
The whole thing has been “extremely difficult,” according to the Cartellone family.
Rebecca, the couple’s only child, resides in Dublin, Ohio, where she is experiencing “significant emotional distress and confusion regarding her own identity.”
“My wife Jennifer is still in shock,” Mr. Cartellone said at a news conference held to discuss the allegations in the lawsuit. “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.”
Not only does Mr. Cartellone not know the true identity of his daughter’s father, he is also unsure if his sperm was used to create embryos with other women’s eggs.
“One of the things we really want to find out through our lawsuit is what happened. Right now we have no idea,” commented Adam Wolf, one of the family’s attorneys.
“We keep asking, ‘Why hasn’t someone done something about this already?’ We’re talking about the creation of life,” Cartellone stressed. “There need to be stronger oversight and controls put in place.”
He goes on to express the importance of holding these clinics accountable. “We’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that this doesn’t happen again to anyone else,” he said.
This isn’t the first time a mix up like this has occurred. In fact, there are dozens of pending cases with similar circumstances.