A judge has ruled that a couple whose children were born with darker skin after an IVF mix-up were not entitled to damages.
The Irish couple sued a Health and Social Services Trust for negligence in the insemination process which they said has caused “racial taunting and emotional distress” for their children, according to The Belfast Telegraph.
Although the parents had requested a white sperm donor, the mother’s eggs were inseminated with sperm labelled Caucasian (Cape coloured), referring to a mixed-race South African community.
The judge rejected the couple’s claims for personal injuries, loss and damage against the Trust which provided their IVF treatment.
The couple, who wished to be remained anonymous, told the court that their children have a noticably darker skin tone than their parents — and different skin tones from each other. The children have apparently been taunted about their skin color by other kids, some of whom have asked whether they were adopted.
In response to the claim, the Trust said that the sperm used was correctly labeled, but that the label was “misunderstood” by a staff member. The Trust has admitted liability and is willing to negotiate a settlement with the couple.
The Judge also said that the family’s circumstances “could not fail to engage both sympathy and concern.”
Although he acknowledged that their children may have suffered because of the mix-up, the judge said, “the presence of persons sufficiently misguided and cruel as to issue racist comments directed to these children is no basis for a conclusion that they are somehow damaged.”
It’s a complicated case and I’m sure there are more subtleties that haven’t been reported. On the one hand, it’s terrible to hear that these children are being bullied because of the color of their skin. On the other hand, having their parents sue over the color of their skin isn’t going to help make them feel any better!
What do you think?