After years of infertility, a couple conceived, only to learn that the babies they birthed were not theirs. Because of a mix-up, other couples' embryos were mistakenly implanted in this woman's uterus.
The New York couple had struggled with fertility for years. After they failed to conceive naturally, they tried intrauterine insemination, unsuccessfully. The couple turned next to CHA Fertility Center in Los Angeles, where they spent an alleged $100,000 on in vitro fertilization.
The IVF procedures led to eight viable embryos. The first implantation attempt failed, but the second was successful. The couple was overjoyed to hear that the wife was finally pregnant with two girls.
The first red flag came up when an ultrasound showed two male babies. The expecting parents reached out to CHA Fertility Center, who assured them that the babies were female and that the ultrasounds were incorrect. When the babies were born; however, they were both boys. Not only that but they appeared to be a different race than the parents.
CHA Fertility Center conducted genetic testing that revealed that the two baby boys were not genetically related to the woman who birthed them. In fact, they were not even related to each other. It was confirmed that the boys' biological parents were two separate couples who had embryos stored at the center.
In a heartbreaking ending, the couple was forced to give the baby boys to their biological parents.
This devastating situation has happened before, too. In 2009, an Ohio couple gave birth to a baby that was not biologically theirs, due to a similar embryo mix-up. This couple also had to turn their newborn over to its biological parents.
Situations such as these beg the question of what makes a mother and child. Obviously, embryos formed by two people's DNA are biologically their children. However, when a baby spends nine months growing inside of a woman's uterus, isn't she a mother in some way? Not only is she sustaining the fetus's life, but she is also sharing her blood with it via the umbilical cord.
One can only imagine how devastating it would be to be forced to give up a baby after carrying it to term. Carolyn Savage, the mother in the Ohio mixup, expressed how unacceptable this situation is, stating, "It is preventable, protocols need to be followed, and they need to be taken seriously."
We can't agree more. We hope that the couple who went through this traumatic situation can find some peace and that they conceive again soon (with their own embryos!)