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US fertility clinic sued for mixing up embryos during IVF procedure

Published: Updated:

A couple sued a California fertility clinic for switching their embryo with another couple's during in vitro fertilization treatment, resulting in each couple giving birth to and raising the other's baby for months before discovering the mistake.

In a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, Daphna and Alexander Cardinale accused California Center for Reproductive Health of breach of contract, medical malpractice and negligent infliction of emotional distress, seeking an unspecified amount of money damages.

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The clinic did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Daphna Cardinale gave birth to a girl in 2019, but her husband immediately suspected something was wrong because the baby did not resemble either of the parents, according to the lawsuit.

Two months later, the couple obtained a DNA test confirming the child was not related to them.

The Cardinales then contacted the clinic through a lawyer, and the clinic eventually told them that another couple had been given their embryo and had given birth to their biological daughter. They met the other couple, and about a month later decided to switch babies, according to the lawsuit.

“The horror of this situation cannot be understated,” they said. “Alexander's and Daphna's memories of childbirth will always be corrupted and tainted by the sick reality that someone else had their child, and the child Daphna struggled to bring into the world was someone else’s.”

The Cardinales allege that they suffered severe emotional damage, as did their five-year-old daughter, who had bonded with the baby they gave away.

Read more: IVF ‘error’ could see 26 women carry eggs not fertilized by intended father