Two sets of parents found their lives turned upside down when they learned a fertility clinic had co...
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Parents Sue Clinic After Embryo Mix-Up Resulted In Birth Of Another Couple’s Baby

Two sets of parents found their lives turned upside down when they learned a fertility clinic had confused their embryos and they’d given birth to each other’s children.

by Morgan Brinlee

A California couple is suing their fertility clinic after their embryo was allegedly confused with another couple’s, resulting in the two sets of parents unknowingly giving birth to the other’s biological child. Alexander and Daphna Cardinale have said their lives have been forever altered by the mix-up, which ultimately forced them to swap babies with the other couple roughly four months after the children were born.

The Cardinales filed a lawsuit Monday against California Center for Reproductive Health, a Los Angeles fertility clinic they alleged mixed up their embryo with one belonging to another couple, Reuters reported. As a result, Daphna claims she was mistakenly implanted with another couple’s embryo in January 2019 while the mother of that embryo was mistakenly implanted with Dapha’s embryo.

Alexander told People it wasn’t until Daphna gave birth in September 2019 to a baby girl, who due to her dark hair and dark complexion looked nothing like the Cardinales, that he began to suspect something had gone wrong in the IVF process. “If we hadn’t done IVF, I would’ve just chalked [the lack of resemblance] up to genetics,” Alexander told People. “She just looks how she looks. No big deal. But because we’d done IVF, my brain started going to the dark place.”

But it wasn’t until nearly two months after the child’s birth that the Cardinales learned their newborn was not genetically related to them after completing an at-home DNA test. After hiring an attorney, the couple discovered their embryo had gotten mixed up with another couple’s, and that their biological child had been born to that couple a week before Daphna gave birth.

After meeting multiple times with the other couple, who has asked to remain anonymous, the two sets of parents decided to swap infants roughly four months after their births. “The long-term consequences of this baby swap continue to haunt their entire family,” CNN reported the Cardinales’ lawsuit read. “Instead of breastfeeding her own biological child, Daphna breastfed and bonded with a child she was forced to give away.”

In their lawsuit, the Cardinales claim the mix-up happened when California Center for Reproductive Health owner Dr. Eliran Mor outsourced the handling of the embryos to In VitroTech, a third-party embryology center Mor also owned, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Cardinales are suing the California Center for Reproductive Health and Dr. Eliran Mor for breach of contract, medical malpractice, negligence, conversion, fraudulent concealment, violation of unfair competition law, negligent infliction of emotional distress, battery, and more. Romper’s request for comment from the California Center for Reproductive Health was not immediately returned.

“Our memories of childbirth will always be tainted by the sick reality that our biological child was given to someone else,” the Washington Post reported Daphna said Monday at a news conference. “And the baby that I fought to bring into this world was not mine to keep.”