Sperm-Bank Mom Runs Into DNA Nightmare

Danielle Teuscher contacts donor's family after DNA test
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2019 2:20 PM CST
Mom Gets Threatening Letter From Sperm Bank
Stock image.   (Getty Images)

An Oregon woman ran into trouble—and a threatened $20,000 fine—when a seemingly innocent DNA test led her to the family of her daughter's sperm donor, the New York Times reports. Danielle Teuscher, 30, says the 23andMe tests she got for close friends and family last Christmas produced a surprising fact: the name of the donor's mother. So Teuscher reached out. "I wrote her and said, 'Hi, I think your son may be my daughter's donor. I don't want to invade your privacy, but we're open to contact with you or your son,'" she says. "I thought it was a cool thing." But NW Cryobank, the sperm bank she'd used, sent her a letter threatening $20,000 in penalties for "flagrantly" breaching her contract, and withheld four vials of sperm she'd bought from the same donor.

"I was shocked, I was crying for days, I could barely eat. ... It just came back on me in just such a harsh way that made me feel like I did something terrible, like I was a criminal," Teuscher tells CBS News. The Portland nanny was also devastated that her daughter Zoe could no longer have genetic siblings. Seems the NW Cryobank contract does allow clients to take a DNA test, and donor-conceived children can request contact with donors after turning 18—but Teuscher's uninvited contact is considered a no-no. While legal experts debate the validity of NW Cryobank's agreement, Teuscher says she plans to fight for those four vials. "They literally took my babies," she says. "My future babies." (See how a DNA test led to an arrest in a 25-year-old cold case.)

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