Woman Sues Fertility Clinic After Having IVF To Get Baby Girl And Welcoming A Son

A couple are suing a New York fertility clinic after they ended up with a baby boy, rather than girl.

Heather and Robin Wilhelm-Routenberg decided they would only have a child if the sex was a girl because of trauma Heather was still processing.

However, after the CNY fertility clinic in Latham, New York promised the sex of the embryo could be determined before being planted into Heather, at the 15-week scan, the couple discovered they were having a boy.

As a result of the distress the pair have experienced since their son's birth, the Wilhelm-Routenbergs are suing CNY.
CNY Fertility Center Albany where Heather and Robin Wilhelm-Routenberg went for treatment. Credit: CNY Fertility
Initially it was Robin - who is also known as Robbie - who was going to carry the child because of Heather being 'afraid of hospitals' and having experienced 'a lot of physical pain during medical procedures on [her] reproductive region'.

Despite Robin getting pregnant, at around eight to 10 weeks, the couple found out that the baby 'wasn't growing,' so Heather began an IVF cycle instead.

Using one of Robin's eggs and a sperm donor, Heather 'got pregnant on the first try'.

"I was very excited. I felt like a badass, like I was doing something for my family," Heather told the New York Post.

Heather only agreed to have children if they were girls because of two incidents of sexual assault carried out by men she experienced after college.
Heather and Robin used reciprocal IVF to have their baby.Credit: Alamy
"We felt attached to this baby girl, and it was going to be a tiny Robbie, which was the best part," she said.

However, at the couple's 15-week appointment, they were told by the doctor that the sex of their baby was a boy.

"Our jaws dropped to the floor. I was convinced it had to be someone else’s result. I looked at Robbie and said, 'What’s if it’s not yours — who is in my body?!' That’s when I flipped out, that’s when I felt my body was taken hostage. I assumed it was someone else’s embryo, not the wrong embryo of ours.

"It scared the s**t out of me. I don’t know how to explain this — it felt like there was an alien living inside of me," Heather recalled.

Heather explained that the couple didn't want to abort the child, despite it not being the sex they agreed upon.

However, she said: "Not only was the baby in my body not ours, but the baby in my body was male and he was put there against my will, just like rape."
Heather explained how it felt like there was an 'alien living inside' of her after the couple found out the baby was a boy. Credit: Alamy
Heather reflected that she began experiencing flashbacks to her assault and Robin was 'afraid to leave [her] alone'.

"We didn’t want to have a boy because of the assaults and because of the socialisation of boys — there’s constant socialisation of what it means to be a 'real man'.

"People say, 'Oh, he’s a boy, let him hit you,' and all the camouflage and guns don’t help. It reinforces masculinity, and that’s a reminder of the assaults every time," she said.

Heather noted how the decision to have a girl 'wasn't a preference, it was a need'.

As a result of the different sex, Heather reflected she had 'no connection to the baby' and felt 'nobody understood the complexity of [her] feelings' because of the baby being healthy.

In December 2020, the pair's son was born. However, Heather battled with 'extreme anxiety'.

"I would look at the baby and it would contort into the faces of all these grown men that I know," she said.
Despite the fertility clinic's mix-up, Heather and Robin Wilhelm-Routenberg resolved that their baby is 'made of magic'. Credit: Alamy
Despite 'several incidences of suicidal ideation' and 'complex postpartum depression,' Heather explained the baby is 'a year and a half now' and 'made of magic'.

However, the pair are suing CNY on 11 counts including breach of contract, medical malpractice and battery.

Heather resolved: "I feel immense guilt and shame because I wasn’t able to be emotionally present for him. I don’t want to play the victim.

"He’s an innocent being, he didn’t deserve any of this. The clinic messed with something so integral: our baby’s first formative years. That’s the reason I am doing this — because I love my kid so much. We think our son deserved that bond from the start."

Robin concluded: "This is the only child we will have with my genetic material and it was a terrible experience. That changed when we met him and had an opportunity to hold him. We both love our child but we have had to work harder than anyone should have to work to make sure we are all alive."

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