Former Wells Fargo employee sues for age discrimination and retaliation. Photo courtesy of Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels

A judge has slightly trimmed a gay couple’s lawsuit against a Pasadena-based reproductive center in which they allege their wishes to have a son were thwarted when a female embryo was wrongly implanted in their gestational carrier.

During a hearing Monday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet dismissed the negligence claim within the lawsuit brought against Huntington Reproductive Center Medical Group and Dr. Bradford Kolb by plaintiffs Albert and Anthony Saniger.

The judge also said the Sanigers will have to shore up their breach of contract cause of action for it to remain part of the lawsuit, but added that they had provided enough details for now for their claims for fraudulent concealment and violations of the unfair competition law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act to remain in the complaint.

A sixth allegation, for medical malpractice, was not challenged in the defense motion. In their court papers seeking dismissal of the other causes of action, defense attorneys maintained that the Sanigers have not provided details on any type of alleged conduct on the part of the defendants that would demonstrate anything more than medical negligence.

The Sanigers brought the lawsuit July 1, stating that they met more than 10 years ago, married in 2013 and dreamed of having a maximum of two children, both sons. Before they were wed, the Sanigers chose first and middle names for their future sons in May 2015 and created email accounts for their future offspring with their first and last names, the suit states.

Throughout the process, the Sanigers were explicit with HRC and Kolb that they wanted only male embryos transferred to their gestational carrier, the suit states. The defendants told the Sanigers they would get to select the exact embryos, which had an identified gender, to be used in each transfer, the suit states.

Instead, HRC and Kolb “negligently, recklessly, and/or intentionally transferred a female embryo to the Sanigers’ gestational carrier,” according to the suit.

HRC “specifically targets” families in the LGBTQ community and its website says the clinic is “dedicated to helping the gay and lesbian community achieve their dreams of parenthood,” the suit states.

HRC’s website also maintains that Kolb is internationally known for his expertise in complex reproductive matters and that patients come from around the world to seek his services, the suit states. The website further claims that Kolb’s practice is known for helping to develop and implement cutting-edge technologies in the genetic screening of embryos and the development of new laboratory technologies, according to the suit.

The judge scheduled trial of the case for Nov. 29, 2023.

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