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Manhattan Cryobank Testing for Genetic Problems Class Action

What should a sperm bank know about the product it sells? The complaint for this class action alleges that Manhattan Cryobank, Inc. (MCB) sold semen to customers that had not been adequately screened for genetically-based diseases.

The class for this action is all persons who bought sperm from Manhattan Cryobank, Inc. after November 1, 2014 but before June 5, 2018 that was donated to Manhattan Cryobank before November 1, 2014.

MCB’s agreement with customers states, “Manhattan Cryobank acknowledges that they have performed a complete and thorough screening of the donor(s) for inheritable birth defects, inheritable serious illnesses that could be fatal, life threatening, or could result in permanent impairment of a body function or permanent damage to a body structure and for infectious diseases…”

However, screening procedures are not all equally effective.

MCB has been collecting and selling sperm since late 2007. Originally, it screened donors for genetic diseases with a complete blood count (CBC) and self-reporting questionnaires. However, the complaint says, “This protocol was ineffective in detecting all genetic diseases for which MCB agreed it would screen and warranted it found no evidence of.”

In 2014, MCB was purchased by another company. After that, its screening process was changed to next generation sequencing (NGS). The complaint says, “According to sworn testimony, MCB switched to NGS technology because it is more robust and more economical and tests for more traits and genetic diseases than MCB’s prior screening protocol.” 

Before, MCB’s website had a list of four conditions it tested for, including thalassemia. The list of conditions tested for with post-November 2014 screenings is about five times as long. 

Unfortunately, the company decided not to go back and rescreen earlier sperm donations. It did not rescreen until June 2018. In the intervening three-plus years, it continued to sell the sperm donated earlier without giving it more rigorous screening. 

The two plaintiffs in this case are women who bore children from the sperm of Donor 184 from MCB. The sperm had been donated in 2009 and therefore, unknown to them, had been screened only by the earlier, less-effective method. Later, they learned that Donor 184 was a carrier of the alpha thalassemia trait.

In looking at the numbers of donors rejected by the new screening technology used in 2015, the complaint claims that 13 percent of earlier donors most likely should have been rejected.

In 2017, MCB’s CEO, Ty Kaliski, testified in a deposition that he had gone back over files of earlier donors to find any inconsistencies. He found a few. However, it seems that he did not inform customers who had bought those donors’ sperm but simply waited to see if they contacted him with any problems.

The complaint alleges breach of contract and breach of warranty, among other things. 

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Manhattan Cryobank Testing for Genetic Problems Complaint

May 10, 2019

What should a sperm bank know about the product it sells? The complaint for this class action alleges that Manhattan Cryobank, Inc. (MCB) sold semen to customers that had not been adequately screened for genetically-based diseases.

manhattan_cryobank_sperm_bank_diseases_compl.pdf

Case Event History

Manhattan Cryobank Testing for Genetic Problems Complaint

May 10, 2019

What should a sperm bank know about the product it sells? The complaint for this class action alleges that Manhattan Cryobank, Inc. (MCB) sold semen to customers that had not been adequately screened for genetically-based diseases.

manhattan_cryobank_sperm_bank_diseases_compl.pdf
Tags: Breach of Contract, Breach of warranty