New York Court of Appeals Extends Wrongful Birth Statute of Limitations for Two New York Couples

The process of undergoing invitro fertilization can be an emotional roller coaster with added financial and physical strain. Imagine going through years of this and finally being able to conceive a child, only to find out after it is born that it has a genetic condition that causes developmental delays, learning disabilities and cognitive impairments. Unfortunately, this happened recently to two couples in New York after receiving donor eggs at a fertility clinic. It wasn’t until after their children were born that the children were diagnosed with a genetic condition, Fragile X Syndrome.

After an investigation, it was found that the egg donors were both carriers of Fragile X Syndrome and over 2 years after the birth of the children, both couples brought law suits against the doctor and fertility clinic. Their allegations? “Wrongful birth.” Essentially, this means they are suing for the exceptional expenses in raising a special needs child. After the suits were filed, the doctor and the fertility clinic argued that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is 2 ½ years from the date of the malpractice (in this case the date the embryos were implanted) begins to run from the date the malpractice occurred and that in these cases, this statute had expired.

On December 14, 2017, the New York Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court’s decision that the wrongful birth cause of action did not begin to run until the birth of the disabled children since until the children were born, the extraordinary costs of raising the children could not be determined. Despite extending the statute of limitations in these two cases, the Court of Appeals made clear that this was a narrow decision based on the “unique features” of these cases.

New York’s medical malpractice laws are intricate, and it is important that if you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a doctor or hospital’s negligence, you seek the knowledgeable advice of experienced attorneys. The attorneys at Spiegel, Brown and Fichera, LLP will always evaluate your case free of charge and give your case the full attention it deserves.