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It started off as a common-enough story: A married couple who had trouble conceiving turned to a Los Angeles clinic offering in vitro fertilization to start their family. The husband produced sperm and the wife’s eggs were retrieved. When a set of embryos was formed and preserved, the couple was excited and continued following the fertility clinic’s prescribed protocol. After one unsuccessful attempt, the couple was thrilled to learn that the wife was pregnant with twins.
Things took a turn midway through the pregnancy. While the clinic’s doctors had told the couple the embryos transferred were females, ultrasounds showed that the woman was carrying two males. When confronted with this discrepancy, the doctors brushed off their concerns, insisting that the sonogram results simply were not reliable.
Ultimately, the woman gave birth in March to male twins in a New York hospital. Unfortunately, neither of the boys is biologically related to the couple – or to each other.
In a federal medical malpractice and negligence lawsuit filed recently in the Southern District of New York, the couple accused the clinic’s doctors of trying to cover up their error. The civil suit further claims the clinic’s “extreme and outrageous” actions caused significant and permanent emotional injuries, in addition to physical injuries sustained by the wife. The couple ultimately surrendered the children.
Shortly after the boys’ birth, on the other side of the country, Anni and Ashot Manukyan were called in to CHA Fertility Clinic for a routine “quality control test.” The results of the DNA test revealed that one of the boys was their biological son. Elated, but distraught by the fact that their son was now 6 weeks old, they flew to New York to retrieve him. It is still unclear who the other baby’s biological parents are.
After a custody battle that lasted for over a month, they have now filed a lawsuit against CHA Fertility for emotional and punitive damages. In addition to accidentally transferring their embryo to another woman, Anni and Ashot claim that the embryos transferred to Anni’s uterus were not theirs. Anni also shared that she is haunted daily by the fact that she is unsure if there is another child with another family due to CHA’s faulty practices.
Errors in embryo transfers are always tragic, and while rare, they are not unheard of. It remains to be seen how the court will ultimately rule in this case, but no verdict can right the wrong these intended parents suffered.
At The Surrogacy Law Center, we help individuals and couples protect their rights, and the rights of their future children conceived through in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today.