Mother Recalls Her Response When Fertility Clinic Implanted Wrong Baby By Mistake

National   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Nov 24, 2014   |   8:14PM   |   Washington, DC

In 2009, Carolyn and Sean Savage were thrilled to find out they were expected another baby after an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. The couple already had one baby through IVF, and from that successful treatment, they had extra embryos and saved them for future pregnancy attempts.

However, their happiness quickly turned to shock when their doctor told them that the baby Carolyn was carrying was not theirs; instead the baby belonged to a family they never met. During the transfer process, the fertility clinic made a huge medical error— they implanted the wrong embryo in Carolyn’s uterus.

carolynsavageShe explains more in her book, Inconceivable. And on her website, Carolyn wrote the following about her experience:

“A medical mistake during an IVF procedure. An unthinkable situation . . . you’re pregnant with the wrong baby. You can terminate, but you can’t keep him.

What choice would you make? We’d been trying to expand our family for years. When we underwent an IVF transfer in February 2009, we knew it would be our last. If we became pregnant, we’d celebrate our baby as an answer to our prayers. If not, we’d be grateful for the family we had and leave our fertility struggles behind forever.

We never imagined a third option. The pregnancy test was positive, but the clinic had transferred the wrong embryos. I was pregnant with someone else’s baby.

That news left us faced with a series of gut wrenching decisions: terminate the pregnancy, sue for custody, or hand over the infant to his genetic parents upon delivery. Knowing that I was carrying another couple’s beloved child, we did what we prayed the other family would do for us if the situation was reversed.

We decided to give the ultimate gift, the gift of life, to a family we had never met.”

carolynsavage2Thankfully, Carolyn and Sean rejected abortion and handed the baby over to the biological parents. They went on to have twin girls through surrogacy and now Carolyn’s pregnant with their sixth child. But miraculously, they conceived this baby naturally. Carolyn shared their announcement with Today Parents.

Click here to sign up for daily pro-life news alerts from

She said, “At the age of 45, after two decades without a spontaneous conception; after countless ovarian stimulation cycles, multiple intrauterine inseminations and more than five IVF attempts; after six reproductive endocrinologists threw up their arms, unable to explain why we couldn’t conceive; and after one of those doctors accidentally transferred the embryos of another couple into me resulting in a pregnancy that pushed me to the limits of my sanity; I was pregnant — the old fashioned way.”

Although this couple lived out their pro-life views by choosing life for a baby that wasn’t even theirs, their story highlights one of the problems with IVF. Fertility clinics have made medical errors in the past, and in those instances, they’ve lead to custody battles, ugly lawsuits and at least one abortion.

However, the bigger problem is that when doctors use IVF unwanted embryos are sometimes destroyed. As LifeNews previously shared, a former Indiana State University biology explained how he felt about IVF. He said, “This is an entirely unregulated industry, a business. It’s the same manufacturing industry that brought us the ‘Octomom’ and ‘egg brokers,’ treating babies and women’s bodies and eggs as commodities. Maybe it’s about time we took a harder look at the whole idea of cavalierly creating life in the lab.”