25 July 2011
ByAppeared in BioNews 617
A fertility clinic in Hong Kong has admitted to implanting two embryos into the wrong woman earlier this month. The embryos, belonging to another patient at the clinic, were reported to have been removed and discarded by the clinic upon discovery of the mistake. The women affected are said to have received counselling and compensation from the clinic.
The government's Council on Human Reproductive Technology investigated the incident but has decided not to take action against the Victory ART (assisted reproducitive technology) clinic, which also has branches in the Philippines and Malaysia. It concluded the mistake was down to 'human error' rather than a systemic fault, finding the incident followed a junior embryologist's failure to adequately check the labels.
Acting secretary for food and health, Professor Gabriel Leung, said he is supportive of the outcome of the investigation: 'We believe that due process has been followed, and the department of health will continue to assist the Council in the enforcement'.
IVF patients, including those who have been patients at the Victory ART clinic, have expressed anger on Internet forums. Some have voiced concerns that such an error may have occurred previously and are requesting DNA tests for their children to confirm their biological parentage.
The clinic has remained open throughout the Council's investigation. It says it has improved its checking procedures and has now introduced a double-check method.