Fertility Clinic Mix-Up Leaves Woman Pregnant With a Couple’s Twins

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 15, 2014   |   12:30PM   |   Washington, DC

A mix-up at a fertility clinic in Italy has left a woman pregnant with a couple’s twins.

The human embryos the clinic implanted in one woman weren’t those of her and her partner and, as news reports indicate, the woman wasn’t alerted to the problem until she was already three months into the pregnancy. The AFP reports the switch somehow happened on Dec. 4 at the Sandro Pertini Hospital in Rome.

Fox News has more on the situation:

conception4Four couples received treatment that day, and it’s unclear whether any other improper pregnancies resulted. There’s also no word on how the mix-up came to light, though Rome’s health authority said it learned there was “genetic incompatibility” between the parents and embryos on March 27.

The country’s health ministry is now investigating, and no further implantations are being done at the clinic. It’s far from the first time this has happened: In 2009 an Ohio woman implanted with the wrong embryos gave birth to a baby boy then handed him over to his biological parents; a 2000 in-vitro mix-up saw a San Francisco woman implanted with another couple’s embryos as well.

The Chronicle reports that the doctor immediately realized his mistake but didn’t reveal it; Susan Buchweitz learned of this mistake 10 months after birth after a whistleblower tipped off the Medical Board of California.

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These aren’t the only kinds of ethical issues associated with fertility clinics. These kinds of clinics have been sued for destroying human embryos — unique human beings — without permission. They also often implant large numbers of human embryos that result in multiple pregnancies and the parents involved have either already decided to have an abortion or are encouraged to do so.

Pro-life groups have called for regulations on the fertility clinic industry limiting the number of embryos that can be implanted at any time to one or two and to notify parents and embryo adoption agencies before these unborn children are destroyed.