IVF Mix-Up: California Couple Raised the Wrong Baby

16 November 2021

1.4 MINS

Many embrace IVF treatment as a great scientific advance. But it raises some significant ethical questions – especially when there is a mix-up and multiple couples are forced to swap babies long after birth.

A California couple is suing a fertility clinic for implanting the wrong embryo. Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., said of the IVF embryo mix up, “I feel for these parents. I am sure this was, and is, a traumatic experience for them all, including the big sister who doesn’t understand why they have to give the baby back.”

“It is even more traumatic for the baby,” Morse continued. “Which of these two women is her ‘real’ mother, the genetic mother or the gestational mother? We shouldn’t have to ask these questions. The woman who carried the child for nine months surely bonded with that child, while the child experienced that woman as her mother.”

IVF makes false promises. The couple does sometimes, though not always, get a baby. But it is objectively not the same experience as conceiving a child through the marital embrace.”

“IVF goes beyond the Contraceptive Ideology, which says people can have sex without having babies. IVF says you can have babies without having sex. There are no embryo ‘mix-ups’ conceiving the old-fashioned way.”

The Cardinale family suspected they had the wrong baby almost from the outset, because there was no physical resemblance to either parent. But it wasn’t until the child was almost a year old that a DNA test confirmed their suspicion: that there was an IVF embryo mix up. The children were exchanged, and the Cardinales are suing the fertility clinic for medical malpractice, negligence, and breach of contract.

Morse observed: “The entire IVF industry, along with the medical and legal establishment that stands behind it, are also guilty of malpractice. They make money by convincing couples that a fertilized egg implanted in a woman’s body is the equivalent of conceiving the child through intercourse.”

“The whole industry needs to be scrutinized, and the premise on which it’s based, reconsidered,” Morse said. “We cannot apply enough regulatory band-aids to this industry to correct all these problems. The IVF industry should be abolished.”

Originally published at The Ruth Institute. Image via New York Post.

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