The difference between a wrongful birth claim and a wrongful life claim is stated in the Washington Supreme Court case Harbeson v. Parke-Davis, Inc., 656 P. 2d 483 – Wash: Supreme Court 1983.


wrongful birth will refer to an action based on an alleged breach of the duty of a health care provider to impart information or perform medical procedures with due care, where the breach is a proximate cause of the birth of a defective child.


[6] In a wrongful life claim,

[t]he child does not allege that the physician’s negligence caused the child’s deformity. Rather, the claim is that the physician’s negligence — his failure to adequately inform the parents of the risk — has caused the birthof the deformed child. The child argues that but for the inadequate advice, it would not have been born to experience the pain and suffering attributable to the deformity.

Comment, “Wrongful Life”: The Right Not To Be Born, 54 Tul. L. Rev. 480, 485 (1980).