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No action to be taken on fertility clinic that implanted wrong embryo

25 July 2011
Appeared 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.

Clinic botched embryo transfer
RTHK English News |  16 July 2011
Hong Kong fertility clinic admits embryo error
BBC News |  18 July 2011
Top IVF clinic gives woman wrong embryos
Evening Standard |  18 July 2011
22 August 2011 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
Mistakes in IVF treatment more than trebled in Britain during the last three years, according to figures from the UK's fertility regulator....
13 September 2010 - by Rose Palmer 
A new technology used by Hull IVF unit to prevent clinical mix-ups when sperm and eggs are combined in the laboratory is to be rolled-out for use across the UK, and has been nominated for an award...
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Embryologist Paul Fielding was arrested last week in connection with the alleged embryo mix-up at two Hampshire fertility clinics. A police investigation was launched last month, after internal inspectors identified inconsistencies between the recording and storage of frozen embryos belonging to 39 couples. In a statement, police said: 'Hampshire Police...
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