Gay couple who wanted a son sue IVF clinic after surrogate gives birth to daughter

A gay couple are suing a California fertility clinic after they requested a male embryo but ended up having a baby girl.

According to CBSNews, Albert and Anthony Saniger were determined to be fathers to two sons. Before the couple wed in 2013 they had already chosen the names of their future kids and even created Gmail accounts for them.

The HRC Fertility clinic and fertility specialist Dr Bradford A Kolb reportedly assured the couple that they could make this happen. The couple were explicitly clear that they wanted a male embryo implanted in their surrogate. 

In May 2020, the couple provided their sperm, and after two unsuccessful attempts their surrogate became pregnant in December. She gave birth to a baby girl in 2021.

The couple’s lawsuit claims that the fertility clinic “negligently, recklessly, and/or intentionally transferred a female embryo to the Sanigers’ gestational carrier”.

The lawsuit was filed at Los Angeles Superior Court and is alleging breach of contract, medical malpractice, negligence and fraudulent concealment and violation of the Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

The couple is seeking unspecified damages, citing the $300,000 cost of the fertility process, as well as the cost of raising three children instead of two, as they still plan to have two sons.

The HRC website states that it is “dedicated to helping the gay and lesbian community achieve their dreams of parenthood.” The clinic also advertises sex screening for eggs so parents can choose the sex of their child. 

The clinic said “every child has value and limitless potential regardless of gender” in a statement responding to the lawsuit.

“At HRC Fertility, our mission is to provide world-class care,” a spokesman said to NBC Los Angeles.

“We have helped thousands of people, including the couple involved in this lawsuit.

“We hope the Sanigers find love and value in their healthy child while so many across the country are struggling with reproductive issues.”

Having children for same-sex couples is often more difficult and more expensive. (Credit: Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

Earlier this year a similar incident occurred when a lesbian couple sued a New York fertility clinic after they asked for a female embryo but wound up with a baby boy.

Heather Wilhelm-Routenberg and her wife Robin (Robbie) Routenberg-Wilhelm stated they did not want a boy because Heather had been a victim of assault and “there’s constant socialisation of what it means to be a ‘real man'”.

Same-sex couples pay a hefty amount of money to experience the joy of parenthood compared to cisgender couples.

In some areas of the UK, female same-sex couples are required to undergo 12 rounds of intrauterine insemination or rounds of IVF treatments to “prove” their medical fertility before they can receive NHS-funded treatment, while cisgender mixed couple only have to have tried to conceive for two years before receiving NHS funding.

Commercial surrogacy is not legal in the UK, and the surrogate automatically becomes the child’s legal mother, with many fathers left reliant on trust to establish parental rights.