AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Jessica Harvey Galloway has always embraced her father’s Italian heritage and in planning a trip to Europe with her husband in 2020, she put a plan in motion to find distant relatives in Italy.
But after receiving an at-home DNA kit as a Christmas gift that same year, her life would forever change.
“Truly there are no words to describe and express what I have been through and what my parents have been through.”
It was back in 1991 when Jeanine and Mike Harvey went to Dr. Nicholas Spirtos, then the Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Summa Akron City hospital, now Summa Health System, for help conceiving a child.
But that DNA test Harvey Galloway took would reveal a shocking mix-up. Mrs. Harvey’s egg was fertilized not by her husband’s sperm, but by another man, also a patient of Dr. Spirtos, as stated in the lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Court of Common Pleas in Summit County.
“We don’t know if we were the only couple there that day, there may be two, three, four couples, maybe we’re all intertwined,” Jeanine Harvey says. “We don’t know.”
“It’s shocking, it’s disbelief, it’s sadness, betrayal,” Mike Harvey explains.
Summa Health responded to the lawsuit in this statement which reads, “We are aware of an allegation that has been made claiming in 1991 a patient was artificially inseminated with the semen from a person who is not her husband. We take this allegation seriously and understand the impact this has on the family. At this point, we have not met with the family or conducted testing of our own. Given the very limited information that we have and the amount of time that has passed, it remains our hope that the attorneys representing the family will work with us to make that next step a priority.”
“It has been almost 7 months since we first advised the defendants of our client’s claims,” Attorney Ashlie Case Sletvold says. “Summa Health Systems and Doctor Spirtos have offered no explanation on how Jessica was conceived using a strangers’ DNA.”
Harvey Galloway recently discovered her biological father is not Italian, but part Irish and Welsh. Their future relationship is still uncertain.
She too joins growing calls for change in the multi-billion dollar fertility industry.
“The regulations have to change. The chain of custody issue has to change, the training has to change. This can’t be happening in 2022, we shouldn’t be having this issue.”