When you think in-vitro fertilization, you usually think of a voluntary, planned act between two loving people who desperately want to be parents. According to Joseph Pressil, father to 4-year-old twins, this was not how it played out for him. According to Pressil, his sperm was stolen and used at a fertility clinic to impregnate his ex-girlfriend without his consent or knowledge and he is now suing the clinic for theft and his ex for custody.
Pressil says that he had met his ex in Miami, Florida in May of 2006. By the end of November, they had broken up. Three months later, she came to him and said that she was pregnant. Once the babies were born, he requested a paternity test and when the results came back positive, he was ordered to start paying more than $800 a month in child support. And that was the way it was until something unexpected happened this past February.
Pressil received a receipt in the mail for sperm cryopreservation. Shocked and confused, Pressil called the number on the receipt. He was referred to the Advanced Fertility Center of Texas. The fertility center asked him to sign a medical release form but they never returned his call after that. So, like most people would do, he headed down to pay the clinic a visit in person.
It was then that Pressil says that he learned that his two sons were the result of a successful in vitro fertilization procedure, but Pressil says that he and his ex never even discussed children, let alone in vitro fertilization. He says that his ex-girlfriend stole his sperm to achieve the fertilization, but the clinic says different.
According to the Texas’ Uniform Parentage Act, Pressil would have had to have signed consent because he and his ex were not married. The center says that they have this consent on file. Yet, they also reported in the lawsuit that they had assumed that couple was married when the procedure was carried out.
Pressil’s lawyer, Jason Gibson, says this is a classic case of theft. He says if Pressil’s sperm was used, he should have been listed as a patient. If he is listed as a patient, it would have been known that he and his ex were not married and a consent should be on file. “They violated their own policies and procedures by not getting that consent,” says Gibson.
The center’s attorney says that Pressil’s “presence in this thing, as far as the client is concerned, is absolute,” because Pressil’s insurance and credit card both were used to pay for the procedure. The fertility clinic also claims to have his blood on file. He would have had to been present to give blood. Pressil says, however, that he did not give blood. He also states that he had added his ex to his insurance policy after learning of her fibroids, despite the fact that they were not married, because she did not have insurance herself.
As with most things, Pressil says that hindsight is 20/20. He reports that strange behaviors during and after sex now make total sense and he is convinced that all along, she had planned to impregnate herself with his stolen sperm.
“At the time she was giving me these condoms, and she said because of her fibroids these condoms were not lubricated, and would not affect the fibroid enlargement. Every time she would give me those condoms after the sex she would leave the room. She’d come back, give me something to drink. We always had sex in the morning and she’d say she had to go do something,” he says. “She would leave about 10 or 15 minutes afterward.”
The whole incident is “embarrassing” says Pressil. He is humiliated that his ex-girlfriend was able to do all of this without his knowledge. In his lawsuit, he is asking the jury to determine how he should be compensated for the child support he has already paid and the mental anguish he has suffered through this incident. He is also planning to ask for full custody of his children because of his ex’s “scandalous ways.” He currently has joint custody of his sons.
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