DELAWARE, Ohio (WCMH) — It was a Christmas present given with the intention of discovering some family history but instead it unveiled a shocking violation for one Central Ohio family.
“I never would have imagined the Christmas gift of a home DNA kit would unveil this kind of abuse for our trust,” Joe Cartellone said.
The results of an Ancestry DNA test revealed that Cartellone was not his daughter’s biological father.
“It’s hard to explain the shock and agony when you find out someone you love and care for — your own daughter — is not genetically related to you,” he said.
Twenty-five years ago, the Cartellones brought their daughter, Becca, into this world after seeking fertility treatment from a facility in Cincinnati.
Now, Cartellone is wondering what happened to his sperm.
“If you provide sperm to create an embryo and you find out that sperm was not used for your daughter, you have to wonder, where did your sperm go?” Adam Wolf, one of the Cartellone family’s attorneys, said.
Wednesday afternoon, the Cartellones filed a lawsuit against the Institute for Reproductive Health, the Christ Hospital and Ohio Fertility Providers in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.
“We are questioning if they were negligent or engaged in intentional misconduct, and whatever it is, it is horrifying,” Wolf said.
Even though they don’t know who their 25-year-old daughter’s biological father is, Wolf said the family tree they got back showed Becca is related to five men she never met before, and they assume one of them is her sperm donor.
“One of those five men previously worked as a doctor at the Christ Hospital,” Wolfe said.
That’s the place the Cartellones went to for IVF services that helped them successfully conceive their only child.
“She has to deal with the fact that this clinic and doctors fertilized her egg with a complete stranger’s sperm and placed them in her body,” Cartellone said of his wife.
Moving forward, they hope the lawsuit will provide more oversight and regulation for fertility clinics.
“These clinics need to be held accountable and suffer real consequences for their action,” he said.
Besides using the Ancestry DNA kit, the family also underwent further DNA testing to confirm the results.
NBC4 reached out to the three Cincinnati fertility service and health providers named in the lawsuit but has not heard back.