A woman has taken a sperm bank to court after giving birth to a child with dwarfism, despite choosing a 6ft tall donor on its website.
The woman whose identity has not been disclosed, reportedly chose a father for her baby from pictures of men on the site.
After paying for the man’s sperm, the woman underwent successful IVF treatment at a private Moscow clinic, believing this to be her last chance to have a child because of her age.
The anonymous woman was attracted to the donor because of his fair-haired looks, higher education, and height of more than 6ft.
She expected her child to inherit those traits, but in the later stages of pregnancy doctors detected the unborn baby boy most likely had achondroplasia – an incurable condition affecting how some of the bones develop.
Approximately one in 25,000 people are born with achondroplasia. The condition mainly affects the growth of the upper arms and thighs, with other signs including a prominent forehead, a sunken nose, crowded teeth and a protruding jaw.
The child’s condition was only confirmed after birth, with doctors telling the woman her son – now two – would grow to a maximum adult height of 4ft and his facial features would not develop ‘correctly’.
The woman said she wanted to warn other sperm bank customers of the risk, with Koptevsky District Court ultimately ordering the blocking of the website of Danish sperm bank Cryos in Russia, ruling that using its services would flout Russian laws.
Health watchdog Roszdravnadzor said it was not satisfied with case details handed over by the sperm bank – including a ‘medical genetic examination’ of the donor, analysis of his ‘mental and physical condition’, and a family tree.
The sperm bank said it screens donors for 46 of the most common recessive genetic diseases, telling all the sperm it supplied was of excellent quality, adding they ‘are not responsible for the mistakes of the clinics’ carrying out IVF treatment.
However, medical sources have said it’s impossible to say unequivocally the dwarfism condition arose from the sperm donor, as not all cases of achondroplasia are hereditary.