Two couples from California gave birth to each other’s baby after an embryo mix-up at the fertility clinic
In a shocking mix-up, reported on Sky News, a California IVF clinic accidentally swapped embryos and transferred them into the wrong women. The transfers resulted in successful pregnancies, and the couples spent months raising each other’s babies before confirming the error. One of the couples is now suing a Los Angeles-based fertility clinic for breach of contract, negligence, medical malpractice, and fraud.
Daphna Cardinale and her husband Alexander knew something was off immediately after she gave birth to the baby girl, whose complexion was significantly darker than theirs. However, they pushed aside their doubts and fell in love with the baby. However, they soon found out that the baby was not their biological child, and the IVF clinic had made the shocking mistake. Daphna feels betrayed, and the entire family has suffered trauma.
“I was overwhelmed by feelings of fear, betrayal, anger and heartbreak. I was robbed of the ability to carry my own child. I never had the opportunity to grow and bond with her during pregnancy, to feel her kick.”
The other parents have elected to remain anonymous for now, though they have stated they soon plan to file a similar lawsuit. Attorney Adam Wolf is representing all of the parents
The Cardinales’ lawsuit alleges that the clinic mistakenly implanted the wrong embryo into each woman. As a result, the babies born in September 2019 were raised by the wrong families for three months, until DNA tests confirmed the unthinkable accident.
The complaint states, “the Cardinales, including their young daughter, fell in love with this child and were terrified she would be taken away from them. All the while, Alexander and Daphna did not know the whereabouts of their own embryo and thus were terrified that another woman had been pregnant with their child – and their child was out in the world somewhere without them.”
In January 2020, the babies were given back to the correct parents. While this is a rare occurrence, mix-ups do occur at IVF clinics. In 2019, a Glendale, California couple sued a different IVF clinic, complaining that their embryo and another incorrect embryo (from a different couple) were implanted into the wrong woman.
Attorney Wolf wants to see more oversight at American fertility clinics. He says, “this case highlights an industry in desperate need of federal regulation.”
Meanwhile, the Cardinales had to tell their then five-year-old daughter that the baby she had grown to love was not her sister. Daphna says it “was the hardest thing in my life. My heart breaks for her, perhaps the most.
Now, all four parents are trying to make the best out of a terrible situation. They are staying in contact to “forge a larger family. They were just as much in love with our biological daughter as we were with theirs.”
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