New York couple pursue fertility clinic for giving birth to twins who were not theirs

A family doctor indicates the details of an ultrasound image. According to analyzes conducted at three and five months, a woman in New York carried twins, contrary to what fertility doctors told her, according to a federal trial. (Andy Cross / The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The warning sign, she said, appeared for the first time in a grainy and wide-angle image that went through the sonogram screen.

The scans suggested that she was carrying two boys.

But the result was doubly alarming when she gave birth to two male babies, none of them seeming to be of Asian descent.

The mother and her husband are Asian. And a fertility clinic, which describes itself as the "mecca of reproductive medicine," had told them that embryos formed from their genetic material would give little girls, they will say later.

They have abandoned the custody of newborns, who are identified only as Baby A and Baby B in a federal lawsuit by the couple alleging that their embryos were exchanged or misplaced, forcing the woman to carry the babies. other people eventually in a successful in vitro procedure a fertilization that has gone terribly wrong.

The civil complaint, filed last week in the eastern district of New York, accuses the Los Angeles-based clinic where the couple requested treatment, as well as two men whom the trial identifies as co-owners and directors of the clinic, for fault medical negligence, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among others. She claims compensatory and punitive damages.

The clinic, the ACS Fertility Center, did not return a request for comment on Sunday. The defendants had not filed any complaint in the case on Sunday. Their lawyers did not immediately return a request for comment.

The July 1 complaint identifies the plaintiffs, residents of Queens, with their initials, to protect their privacy. The woman is A.P., and the man is Y.Z.

Since their marriage in 2012, the couple aspires to have children. Specifically, their wish was to "conceive, give birth, and raise their own children," as their pursuit claims. Their attempts to conceive a child were unsuccessful and so they turned to different strategies, including artificial insemination. But natural and alternative measures left them disappointed.

The couple learned of the existence of the CHA's fertility at the end of 2017, as reported in the record. They looked at the clinic's website, as well as its promotional materials, which features among the "first fertility treatment networks in the world," according to the trial.

His doctors "evaluate patients on a case-by-case basis to ensure that each of them receives the most appropriate and advanced treatment needed," the paper says. website of the center. The ACS promises "personalized care" at the heart of what she says to be her "high success rates".

The center is led by physicians known for their research and clinical work.

According to the most recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fertility clinics in the United States performed more than 263,000 cycles in assisted reproductive technology in 2016. Of these, about 81,000 resulted in pregnancy. which resulted in nearly 66,000 deliveries.

The 2016 data report, produced by the CDC last year, noted that success rates depended on the type of procedure – the most common being in vitro fertilization – as well as the age of the woman and her birth history and miscarriages, among other factors. A study published in the 2015 Journal of the American Medical Association, which looked at a sample of thousands of British women undergoing in vitro fertilization between 2003 and 2010, found that over 65% had had a child at home. sixth attempt.

A.P. and Y.Z. went to CHA Fertility in January 2018, according to the lawsuit.

Y.Z. produced sperm, while A.P. followed a careful program for the growth of its eggs. She returned to the center the following month to recover her eggs. The couple claims to have paid more than $ 100,000 for school fees, drugs, lab fees, travel expenses and more.

In February 2018, a set of embryos was formed and tested, showing that five had a complete set of chromosomes. The clinic staff froze the embryos for preservation as archival documents. A.P. followed an in vitro fertilization protocol, which included testing for and the consumption of prenatal drugs and vitamins.

Last summer, she returned to the fertility clinic for the transfer of embryos, using one of the female embryos formed in February. But she did not get pregnant.

The couple retried the next month, working with medical providers at the clinic, who said they would thaw two more female embryos for transfer, according to the legal claim.

A.P. learned from her OB / GYN last September that she was pregnant with twins. She and her husband were "ecstatic," says the lawsuit.

Then questions arose. When the sonograms were taken at three and five months, the couple learned that two boys were en route. This was contrary to what the clinic doctors had told them – that there was only one male embryo in the set and that it was not one of those used in the transfer. .

According to the lawsuit, the couple discussed the results with the clinic 's doctors, who told them that the result of the ultrasound was "inaccurate and that it was not a problem. a definitive test ". One of the doctors said that his own wife had been informed, on the basis of an ultrasound, says the lawsuit, that she would only have a boy to give birth to a girl.

In March, A. P. gave birth to male twins in a New York hospital. Neither was Asian.

DNA testing confirmed that none of the members of the couple were related to the newborns. The results also showed that newborns were not related to each other.

"The plaintiffs had to give up the care of babies A and B, thus suffering the loss of two children", according to their request. "The plaintiffs have suffered significant and permanent emotional injuries for which they will not be cured." He further asserts that the PA, who was carrying the twins, "suffered physical and emotional injury."

The lawsuit does not speculate on how the transfer went wrong, but accuses the experts at the fertility clinic of trying to hide the alleged mistake of future parents. He states that the clinic contacted two other couples who had used CHA services, believing that they were the legitimate parents of both babies.

Regarding what happened to their original embryos, the lawsuit claims that the doctors at the clinic left the couple in the dark.

Transfers of defective embryos have already resulted in lawsuits against fertility clinics, one of which this spring targeted a facility that has now disappeared in Trumbull, Connecticut. preserved for a male version, saying that she wanted to give her son a brother.

An exchange was not the expectation – and certainly not the intention – of the Queens couple.

In addition to medical malpractice and negligence, their lawsuit against the Los Angeles Clinic alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, reckless and gratuitous misconduct, breach of contract, assault and other acts. fault.

The complaint describes the conduct of the clinic and its leaders as "extreme and scandalous".

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