World / Science & Health

U.S. couple sue fertility clinic after embryo mix-up

AFP-JIJI

A New York couple are suing a fertility clinic after the woman gave birth to two babies who were actually other people’s children — because the wrong embryos were implanted in her uterus.

The couple filed suit early this month in a federal court in Brooklyn, seeking compensation after suffering what they say are “significant and permanent emotional injuries from which they will not recover.”

The man and woman, who are only identified by their initials in the court documents, began in-vitro fertilization treatment at the CHA Fertility Center in Los Angeles in January 2018.

They had been married for six years but failed to conceive.

Eight embryos were created on their behalf.

A first implantation in July 2018 was unsuccessful, but a second effort the following month worked, and the woman became pregnant with what she believed to be twin girls.

But doubts arose after the first sonograms, which showed the fetuses were boys. The couple were confused, as only one of the eight embryos was male.

Doctors at the clinic “assured them they were girls and that there was nothing wrong,” according to the court complaint.

In March, the woman gave birth via cesarean section to two boys, “neither of which was of Asian descent,” as the parents are.

Genetic testing confirmed that neither the man nor the woman “was genetically related to the babies … and that the two male babies were not genetically related to each other,” the complaint says.

It turns out that the two babies were the offspring of two other couples who had sought treatment at the clinic. Those couples have since taken custody of the children.

The plaintiffs still do not know what became of their embryos.

“Defendants are concealing the whereabouts of the plaintiffs’ two embryos. … They believe they were never thawed and/or lost or destroyed by defendants,” the complaint says.

The couple are suing the clinic and two of their doctors, Joshua Berger and Simon Hong, alleging professional error, negligence, breach of contract and false advertising.

They are asking to be reimbursed the more than $100,000 they paid for treatment, their future medical expenses, lost wages and punitive damages.

The clinic, which says on its website that it offers “the highest degree of personal care” and has “fulfilled the dreams of tens of thousands of aspiring parents,” did not comment when contacted by AFP.

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