Couple sues fertility clinic after getting another couple's embryo
"I was robbed of the ability to carry my own child."
A couple in California are suing their fertility clinic after their embryo was accidentally swapped with another couple's.
The mix-up saw each mother carry and deliver the other's baby, and each couple spent several months raising the other couple's child before swapping the infants, a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles states.
Daphna Cardinale and her husband, Alexander, said they immediately suspected the baby girl they welcomed in late 2019 was not theirs because she had a darker complexion than both of them, per reports.
However, they ignored their doubts as they had fallen in love with the child and trusted their IVF team and process, Daphna said.
To learn months later that she had been carrying another couple’s baby, and that another woman had been pregnant her child, was heartbreaking and traumatic.
“I was overwhelmed by feelings of fear, betrayal, anger and heartbreak,” Daphna said during a news conference. “I was robbed of the ability to carry my own child.
“I never had the opportunity to grow and bond with her during pregnancy, to feel her kick.”
The lawsuit alleges that the fertility clinic mistakenly implanted the other couple’s embryo into Daphna and implanted the Cardinales’ embryo into the other woman.
The children, both girls, were born a week apart in September 2019, and both couples unknowingly raised the wrong baby for nearly three months before DNA tests confirmed that the embryos had been swapped.
“The Cardinales, including their young daughter, fell in love with this child, and were terrified she would be taken away from them,” the filing claims.
“All the while, Alexander and Daphna did not know the whereabouts of their own embryo, and thus were terrified that another woman had been pregnant with their child — and their child was out in the world somewhere without them.”
The infants were each returned to their biological parents in January 2020, though Daphna says all four parents have made the effort to stay in each other’s lives and “forge a larger family.”
The Cardinales’ lawsuit seeks unspecified damages while accusing the fertility clinic and its owner of medical malpractice, breach of contract, negligence and fraud. They are also demanding a jury trial.
The other couple involved in the alleged mix-up wish to remain anonymous, but are reportedly planning a similar lawsuit in the coming days.
Lawyer Adam Wolf, who will represent all four parents, said the case "highlights an industry in desperate need of federal regulation."