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Couple sues IVF clinic after embryo mix-up

15 July 2019
Appeared in BioNews 1006

A couple are suing a US fertility clinic after an IVF mix-up resulted in the woman giving birth to twin boys unrelated to them - or each other.

In a lawsuit filed on 1 July 2019, the couple from New York - referred to only as AP and YZ - described how they travelled to the CHA Fertility in Los Angeles after failing to conceive naturally for several years. 

After receiving treatment in August 2018, the couple were told that they were expecting twin girls and described themselves as 'ecstatic'.

During routine ultrasounds the couple were told they were having twin boys, but according to their lawsuit, staff at the clinic dismissed these concerns by stating that ultrasound results are not always accurate and that it was not a definitive test. The couple were reassured that they would be having girls, as their IVF cycle had only produced only one male embryo and only female embryos were used during their treatment.

However, on 31 March 2019, AP did indeed give birth to two male babies. Furthermore, despite AP and YZ both being Asian, the boys did not appear to be of Asian descent.

Subsequent genetic testing confirmed that neither of the babies were related to the New York couple, nor were they related to each other. 

One of the babies has since been confirmed to be the child of Anni and Ashot Manukyan from California, who received unsuccessful IVF treatment on the same day as AP in August 2018. 

Upon realising the error, the New York couple stated they wished to retain custody of the boys, although this was contested by the Manukyans. In a custody hearing in May 2019, the judge ruled in favour of the genetic parents. 

As such, AP and YZ have had to 'relinquish custody' of the children, while the Manukyans, and a third couple who wish to remain anonymous, have been granted custody of their sons. 

Mrs Manukyan said the moment she first met her son was 'indescribable' as she was overcome with a range of emotions seeing him for the first time and holding him in her arms.

AP and YZ stated that the CHA Fertility clinic has not advised them on what happened to their own embryos, but suspect that they 'were never thawed and/or lost or destroyed by Defendants'.

Their suit against the clinic demands a jury trial on 16 counts – including medical malpractice, negligence, reckless and wanton misconduct, and deceit and fraudulent concealment.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Couple sues clinic over IVF mix-up after giving birth to twins unrelated to them
The Guardian |  9 July 2019
IVF Mix-Ups Have Broken the Definition of Parenthood
The Atlantic |  11 July 2019
US couple sue after IVF mix-up meant woman gave birth to 'twins' unrelated to them or each other
The Telegraph |  9 July 2019
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