A Queens couple who tried to conceive through IVF says in a lawsuit that the fertility clinic accidentally transferred embryos from two other couples—and they had to give up the babies once they were born.
The mind-boggling mixup, which resulted in a mom desperate for her own kids serving as an unwitting surrogate for others, happened at Comprehensive Health for All Medical Group in Los Angeles, the court papers allege.
CHA, which had branded itself a “mecca of reproductive medicine,” declined to comment on the accusations, which include a claim that the doctors tried to cover up the mistake throughout the pregnancy.
But the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn—which was first reported by the New York Post—describes one of the craziest fertility-clinic flubs in recent memory.
The saga began in 2018 when the New York City couple, who had been trying to conceive since they married six years earlier, contacted CHA for in vitro fertilization, flying to Los Angeles for procedures that would ultimately cost over $100,000.
According to the lawsuit, eggs from the mother and sperm from the father were used to create eight embryos, three of which were female. One female embryo was implanted, but a pregnancy did not result. Last August, two more embryos were transferred and the couple were overjoyed to be told they were having female twins.
Their delight gave way to confusion, however, when at the three- and five-month ultrasounds they were informed the fetuses were male, the lawsuit charges.
The couple contacted CHA and were allegedly told the scan was wrong and “that they were having girls and that nothing was wrong,” the complaint says.
On March 31, 2019, the babies were born, and the couple was shocked to see that they were, in fact, boys and that they did not appear to be of Asian descent like themselves. DNA testing showed the babies were not their biological offspring, according to the lawsuit, and the clinic determined they belonged to two other couples who had undergone IVF there.
“Plaintiffs were required to relinquish custody of Baby A and Baby B, thus suffering the loss of two children,” the complaint says. “Plaintiffs have suffered significant and permanent emotional injuries for which they will not recover.”
The couple says they do not know what happened to their own embryos.
The court filing says the couple has only informed a select few people in their families about the mishap, because they “could not find the courage” to talk about the devastating loss. They asked for anonymity because revealing their identities would cause “further mental anguish and pain.”
The couple seeks unspecified damages.