A US couple are suing a fertility clinic after discovering their 30-year-old daughter is not biologically related to her father.
Mike and Jeanine Harvey said they discovered the mistake after buying a DNA kit for their daughter, Jessica, before she travelled to Italy.
Jessica, who believed she had Mike’s Italian heritage, took the DNA test and discovered she had no Italian roots.
The fertility clinic says it is taking the allegation seriously.
Jessica was planning to spend her 30th birthday in Italy, and before she left her parents bought her an Ancestry.com DNA testing kit as a Christmas present. She and her husband had been planning to use the results of the test to help them find distant relatives.
But the results were a shock.
“The test comes back, I’m sitting at my desk at work, actually, I opened up and see some English. There’s Irish, Welsh, German. Like, where’s the Italian, maybe Sicilian, What? What? Nothing,” she told US news network CBS News. .
Further testing suggested there was a 0% chance that she was biologically related to her father.
Mike and Jeanine underwent the fertility procedure, known as intrauterine insemination (IUI), at a hospital in Ohio in 1991 and their daughter was born the following year. The procedure involves injecting sperm directly into the uterus in an attempt to increase the chance of getting pregnant.
For nearly 30 years, the Harveys say they had no suspicion that anything was amiss. Discovering the alleged mix up was “like waking up in someone else’s life”, said Mr Harvey at a news conference earlier this week.
“Learning that your entire reality isn’t what you believed it to be is hard to explain,” he said.
In the lawsuit against Summa Health System and Dr Nicholas Spirtos, the couple say that a stranger’s genetic material was used to inseminate Mrs Harvey.
The lawsuit says the family has tracked down Jessica’s biological father, who was undergoing fertility treatment at the same time as the Harveys and at the same clinic.
Jessica said she had spoken with him, and he had told her he was pleased to learn he had a child after all.
In a statement issued to CBS News, Summa Health System said “we take this allegation seriously and understand the impact this has on the family. At this point, we have not met with the family or conducted testing of our own”.
Alleged mix-ups have happened before during fertility treatments. Last year, a California couple said they were taking legal action after giving birth in 2019 to a girl they said looked nothing like them. The couple had undergone IVF treatment.
After a DNA test, they found the couple that carried their daughter to term, and together decided to swap the girls.