A Los Angeles couple has sued a local Encino fertility clinic for medical malpractice after discovering that the clinic “mixed up” embryos and caused them to give birth to the wrong child. According to the lawsuit, the clinic and an associated doctor “recklessly, negligently and/or knowingly lost” the couple’s own embryo and implanted another couple’s embryo in the wife instead.
Medical malpractice claims like this are more common than you’d think. Keep reading to learn more about the Encino lawsuit, what it means for potential parents, and what you can do if you believe a fertility clinic has harmed you.
The Lawsuit Against the California Center for Reproductive Health
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Alexander and Daphna Cardinale, have named the Encino California Center for Reproductive Health (CCRH), Beverly Sunset Surgical Associates, In VitroTech Labs Inc., and Dr. Eliran Mor as defendants. The couple alleges that the clinic and Dr. Mor either mislabeled or actively chose to implant their embryo in another couple. Furthermore, the couple contends that Dr. Mor implanted the wrong embryo in Daphna.
Supporting their claim is genetic testing that demonstrates the baby Daphna gestated is not genetically related to the couple. Further genetic testing found that another couple who were clients of CCRH had given birth to the Cardinale’s biological daughter. Essentially, it appears that CCRH negligently or purposefully swapped the couples’ embryos.
While the two sets of parents have since swapped infants, the Cardinales have chosen to sue Dr. Mor and the three institutions she owns. The lawsuit’s causes of action include medical malpractice, battery, breach of contract, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith. By implanting the wrong embryo, the Cardinales argue, Dr. Mor and her clinic breached their contract, failed to act in good faith, and committed both battery and medical malpractice by harming the couple and their child.
Fertility Clinics and Medical Malpractice
Modern science has given potential parents more options for starting a family. Plenty of parents rely on fertility clinics to help them have biological children. The problem is that since fertility clinics are involved in such an intimate part of a couple’s life, any mistakes can be devastating. Some of the most painful kinds of malpractice that a fertility clinician could commit include:
- Embryo “mixups”: As happened with the Cardinales, a fertility clinician may accidentally or purposefully implant an embryo in the prospective mother that is not genetically related to the couple. If this isn’t discovered, the couple may raise a child that’s not their own.
- Incorrect insemination: A negligent or malicious healthcare worker can also inseminate an egg with the wrong sperm sample. In fact, multiple clinic doctors have been found guilty of inseminating eggs with their own sperm before implanting them, creating children that are not genetically related to their legal fathers.
- Failure to diagnose birth defects: Clinics that generate embryos outside the womb often test them to ensure that the process has not gone wrong. Sometimes, a clinic fails to diagnose an embryo with a dangerous or fatal birth defect. When that happens, it forces the mother to go through the heartbreaking and harmful process of having a pregnancy that won’t come to term.
- Implantation errors: Whether a couple chooses in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination, the hopeful mother has to undergo several invasive procedures. If these procedures go wrong, the mother may suffer anything from an ectopic pregnancy to permanent infertility.
What to Do If You Think You’ve Been Harmed by a Fertility Clinic
Fertility clinics can cause dramatic and permanent harm when they commit malpractice. If you think you’ve suffered medical malpractice at a fertility clinic, you deserve to hold the responsible parties accountable. Here’s what you can do if you think you’ve been a victim of fertility medical malpractice.
- Request copies of your medical records: You should get copies of your medical records from the fertility clinic before doing anything else. Your medical records document what procedures the clinic recorded and the reasoning for these actions. They should also contain information like who performed specific procedures and notes about your health at every stage in the process.
- Consult an unrelated medical expert: Once you have your medical records, you can take action. If you have not successfully completed a pregnancy, you should schedule an appointment with an unconnected OB-GYN doctor. The doctor can examine you and determine whether you’ve been injured or misled by the clinic. They can also determine whether your fertility has been harmed by negligent implantation techniques.
- Perform genetic testing: If you have given birth to a child conceived with the help of a clinic, you can perform genetic testing. The test will determine whether the child is actually related to both you and your spouse or sperm donor. If the test shows anything unexpected, then it’s likely something went wrong at the clinic, and you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
- Work with an attorney: If any of the previous steps suggest that the fertility clinic or its workers hurt you, then you need to connect with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney is essential for holding negligent healthcare professionals accountable for their actions. A dedicated medical malpractice lawyer will have the knowledge and experience to argue your case and get you the damages you’re due.
Don’t Let Negligent Fertility Practitioners Destroy Your Chance at Parenthood
The Cardinales have suffered one of the worst possible harms a fertility clinician could perform. They raised the wrong child for months, and they’ll never get that time with their little one back. Other people have suffered the loss of fertility or the destruction of viable embryos at the hands of negligent fertility clinics.
If you’re one of those people, take action today. The expert team at the Law Offices of Michael Oran, APC, is ready to help you fight back against fertility malpractice. Schedule your consultation to learn more about how the right medical malpractice lawyer can help you force these medical professionals to face consequences for their actions.