A man attempting to have a child through in vitro fertilization sued his fertility clinic for alleged negligence after his only available sperm sample was thrown out. Previously diagnosed with testicular cancer, the patient had managed to obtain a single sperm sample, which he placed in the care of a sperm bank while he waited for the fertility clinic to test whether a portion of the sample contained viable sperm. The clinic had promised that they would alert the patient within three days if the portion of his sample was negative, and after not hearing back the patient had asked the sperm bank to dispose of the sample. Assuming his sample was positive, the patient and his partner had gone to their IVF appointment only to be informed that his sample had been negative after all. At the time of trial, the patient remained unable to obtain another sample due to his cancer treatment, and claimed the fertility clinic had been negligent in failing to tell him their initial test had come back with negative results, inadvertently depriving him of the opportunity to test another portion of the sample.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you routinely evaluate and treat patients with fertility issues?
Expert Witness Response E-001024
I am the director of a fertility clinic in the Midwest and routinely provide fertility care, particularly for male factor infertility, which is rampant in the area. I would have to look at the specifics of the case but it does appear that there was some mismanagement here, either by the physician or the bank. If there were sperm in the frozen sample, its disposal and a consequent lack of new viable samples may be irreversible.