California Wrongful Birth Lawyer

Thomas E. Donahue, Founder


Seek Justice for Victims of Wrongful Birth

In the United States, the law allows women to make their choice to terminate a pregnancy if they have been informed that their child has a serious, or fatal birth defect. What if, due to medical negligence, you were never told about this defect? When this occurs, there may be a claim for medical negligence or wrongful birth.


Wrongful birth is a legal claim where your physician:

  • Didn’t diagnose a serious health problem with your unborn fetus.
  • The parents were denied the right to make an informed decision about the pregnancy.


If you have a child that was born with a serious birth defect that you were not made aware of, we can only imagine your heartbreak. While no amount of money can compensate you for your pain, the California wrongful birth lawyers at Donahue & Horrow, LLP are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation. We can assess your can and explain what legal options you have.


Birth Injury vs Wrongful Birth

It is important to be clear on the distinction between a birth injury and a wrongful birth case. A birth injury usually occurs when an otherwise healthy baby is harmed as a result of a mishandled birth complication. This would include brachial plexus injuries, shoulder dystocia or asphyxia.

A wrongful birth matter deals with a child that has a congenital birth defect. Some common examples of a congenital birth defect include:

  • Spina bifida: This occurs when the bones of the spine don’t form correctly.
  • Anencephaly: This child is born with parts of their skull or brain missing.
  • Holoprosencephaly (HPE): This defect is marked by a single-lobed brain and facial and skull defects.
  • Cystic Fibrosis: This defect is characterized by unusually thick mucous, which blocks tubes and ducts, causing the inability to breathe over time.
  • Downs Syndrome: These children are characterized by a degree of intellectual disability and a distinct set of physical features.

These defects are detectable through prenatal testing. When parents are properly informed about these abnormalities, they have the opportunity to make an informed decision whether they want to continue the pregnancy or not.

Medical Negligence

To pursue a claim for wrongful birth, your attorney will need to prove:

  • The doctor owed a legal duty. This requires that you and your doctor had a doctor-patient relationship.
  • The doctor breached his duty of care. The doctor may have failed to diagnose a serious problem or made an error in reading test results.
  • It must be proven that you suffered serious harm as a result.
  • It must be shown that the doctor’s mistake caused your harm.

Be aware that other states approach these claims differently. In some instances, the child sues the doctor rather than the parent. In California, in order to have a wrongful birth claim, it must be proven that:

  • The doctor failed to diagnose or warn the parents of a child being born with a disability or genetic impairment. Or the doctor failed to perform the necessary tests, or advise the parents that tests would be necessary to rule out a disability or genetic impairment.
  • The baby was born disabled or genetically impaired.
  • Had the parents known of the disability or genetic impairment they would not have conceived the child or wouldn’t have brought the child to term.
  • The doctor’s negligence caused harm to the parents.

Damages in Wrongful Birth Cases

It is important to remember that if the legal elements of your case can be proven, you are entitled to damages as a result of your doctor’s negligence. Generally, you can be awarded financial compensation for:

  • Current and future medical expenses to care for the child, including surgeries, therapy, and special schools
  • Emotional distress experienced by the parents dealing with their child’s difficult disease

The California wrongful birth lawyers at Donahue & Horrow LLP are ready to fight for you. We have successfully handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases and pride ourselves on exceeding our client’s expectations. We are here to look out for you and your child’s best interests. Call us today for a free consultation at 310-322-0300 or toll free at 877-664-5407.