A resident of Allegheny County, New York is suing a fertility clinic and medical lab in Texas on the grounds that the clinic used his stolen sperm to inseminate his girlfriend. (For a copy of the complaint, see here.) Jamie Pressil alleges that "[d]ue to the unexpected birth of his children caused by Defendants, Pressil suffered severe mental anguish and incurred economic harm due to substantial child support payments.
The factual background is a bit murky, but the alleged basic storyline appears to be this: Mr. Pressil's former girlfriend and domestic partner, Ms. Anetria Burnett, supposedly secreted Mr. Pressil's used condoms to a fertility clinic, which then used Mr. Pressil's sperm to inseminate Ms. Burnett. Ms. Burnett subsequently gave birth to twins. Mr. Pressil took a DNA test that proved he was the father and then began paying child support of $800 per month. Related news reports are here, here, and here.
The clinic reportedly has a copy of a consent form allegedly signed by Mr. Pressil, as well as the results from bloodwork allegedly performed on Mr. Pressil around the time of Ms. Burnett's insemination. The costs of the fertility services were charged to Mr. Pressil's credit card. See news stories here and here.
In a separate action, Mr. Pressil has been charged with assaulting Ms. Burnett in 2010 (see news story here).
No doubt, there are several factual issues to be resolved. But if the clinic did in fact use the sperm without Mr. Pressil's consent, might the clinic have violated Mr. Pressil's constitutional rights (assuming one could show state action)? Glenn Cohen has suggested a constitutional right not to become a parent in his Stanford Law Review article, The Constitution and the Rights Not to Procreate. And if Ms. Burnett did take Mr. Pressil's discarded condoms, did she steal his "property"? Does it matter how and where the condom was discarded? Does any "theft" only become legally significant if stolen sperm is "converted" into children?