Wrong Embryo

Sharon - posted on 09/22/2009 ( 31 moms have responded )

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I saw this on a news video yesterday and thought about posting it but decided against it 'cause I have such issues with links.



Short story, woman with fertility issues was implanted with someone elses embryo. Its been 15 years since she had a baby and professionals say she has to give the baby up to the biological parents.



What do you think?



http://amfix.blogs.cnn.com/2009/09/22/mo...



Mother given wrong embryo in IVF mix-up

Posted: 09:48 AM ET

Kiran Chetry - Anchor, CNN's American Morning

Filed under: Health

A couple’s greatest joy has become, in some ways, their worst nightmare. Carolyn and Sean Savage wanted to have another child and they were having trouble, so they turned to in vitro fertilization. Then they learned the horrifying news that doctors had implanted Carolyn with another couple’s embryo.



Despite a history of difficult pregnancy, Carolyn and Sean made the decision to carry the child to term and then to give that baby to its biological parents. But they also wanted to tell their story as a possible warning to other couples.



Carolyn and Sean spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Tuesday. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.



Kiran Chetry: Carolyn, you’re 35 weeks pregnant right now. I understand you actually went to the hospital last night.



Carolyn Savage: Yeah, we just had a little false alarm last night. Being 35 weeks pregnant for me is nothing short of miraculous because I delivered my third child at 32 weeks, my second child at 30 weeks. And so it’s been 15 years since I’ve been this pregnant. I just didn’t quite know what was going on last night. So we just went in for safety purposes. And everything’s fine. So hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze a little more time out of this.



Chetry: Everything’s going fine physically, thank goodness. Emotionally, it must be such a difficult time for both of you as you’re trying to figure out what to do. Take us back to the beginning. You decided you needed to get in vitro fertilization to be able to become pregnant with your fourth child. When did you realize that a terrible mistake had been made and another couple’s embryo had been implanted?



Sean Savage: I received a call, actually, at my desk in my office on my cell phone sharing with us that we were pregnant, but at the same time, that they had transferred another couple’s embryos to Carolyn. So the news came simultaneously. And it was absolutely a shock.



Chetry: Carolyn, how did you react when you heard it?



Carolyn: Well, I was at home. The news went to Sean in error. They thought they were calling me and they called his cell phone by mistake. Sean came home and told me right away. It was just a very shocking moment. I couldn’t even comprehend what he was saying. I know I was kind of yelling at him, asking him if he was joking. Clearly his physical demeanor indicated that there was no joke about the news he was delivering to me.



Chetry: You guys say that the decision was instantaneous. You were not going to terminate this pregnancy. You were going to carry this child. You also sought the guidance, as I understand it, of a priest as well as some reproductive endocrinologists within this hospital, who said you understand that you’re going to have to give this baby to its biological parents. So as you’re making all these decisions, explain how you came to the conclusion or at least came to have some peace with the decision that you were going to carry this baby and then give it away.



Sean: Well, that was something that within minutes of learning of the news and after I came home to share the information with Carolyn, we almost immediately came to that conclusion. It was something that there was no other option based on our belief system, based on our history. And so that decision came without hesitation. And some of the other issues and items that followed were very, very difficult to deal with. But we took it one step at a time.



Chetry: I understand. And Carolyn, has there been any explanation given that satisfies you from the clinic about how this happened?



Carolyn: Not to this date. We spoke with the doctor who performed the embryo transfer the day that we were informed that I was pregnant, but it was somebody else’s genetic child. After that date and then a few days later when we communicated with him, we terminated all contact with the clinic responsible. We just thought it was best at that point. So no, no explanation to date has been given.



Chetry: It’s a tough situation. I can’t even imagine what you guys must be going through. Have you thought about legal options? Are you going to sue? Are you going to try to seek monetary damages, try to shut this clinic down?



Sean: We have legal representation and they will be speaking on our behalf relating to those issues. Our focus is right now the health and well-being of the child and the health and well-being of Carolyn. And hopefully a safe delivery in the coming days.



Chetry: Oh, certainly we hope that for you as well. As I understand it, you have established communication with this other family. And how is that whole thing going to work after you give birth, Carolyn?



Carolyn: Well, we obviously – it’s a C-section, so hopefully that will afford them enough time. They’re not local to us. So hopefully they’ll be able to get to the hospital in time to be there for the delivery. They won’t be in the O.R. during the delivery, but they’ll be close by and be reunited with their son hopefully within minutes of the birth. After that, Sean and I have made a decision that we’ll defer to their judgment as his parents as to any kind of contact that may be afforded to us in the role that we played in bringing him into this world.



Chetry: In some ways you look at this as a gift to them? I mean, clearly they were having reproductive issues as well which is why they sought IVF. And because of your tragedy, they’re getting a blessing.



Carolyn: Yes. We made a choice, as we’ve gone along, and it’s been exceptionally difficult, but as we approach the delivery, we’re trying to frame this situation as a gift to the other family despite the loss that we’ll incur. We’re bringing a new child into this world and we really believe that it is a gift.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Mary - posted on 09/23/2009

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As someone who has been through multiple infertility treatments (and then spontaneously conceived with my 2nd husband), I have given this story a lot of thought. I watched the interviews with both couples on the Today show. I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine the emotional turmoil on either side. This may not be fair, but I was relieved that both couples already had children prior to this tragedy. I could not imagine if this had happened to me and I had NEVER been pregnant, or had a child. The whole thing moved me to tears, as I could could empathize with how incredibly diffiult this situation must be for both mothers.



That being said, I'm going to express an opinion that I know will not be well received, but I think needs to be heard. In fact, my husband and I disagreed vehemently about this after watching this story. Yes, I think that this IVF center should be held accountable for ALL expenses incurred as a result of this tragic MISTAKE, including Carolyn's care during her pregnancy/delivery, her attempts to have her own biological child with a surrogate (they have already initiated this process) as well as any mental health counseling either couple may need. they should also be responsible for covering the costs of any further IVF cycles the other couple may wish to pursue. BUT, I don't think that either family should become wealthy over this tragedy. I'm sorry, but that is a BIG contributing factor in our rising healthcare costs in the US. Financial compensation can never "fix" this situation...it is the malpractice insurance companies who will foot that bill, and they will do so by raising ALL of their clients rates....a cost that is then passed on to you and I. Sorry, but unless you are talking about the loss of income of the family breadwinner over their lifetime as a result of medical MALPRACTICE, I believe that large financial settlements that are not directly needed to cover ongoing medical or custodial care are just plain wrong.



Sure that I've already outraged a few of you, so I'm not going to stop there...as for the IVF clinic in question...what, exactly, is shutting them down going to accomplish? I am not familiar with them personally, but chances are, they are an upstanding facility that has helped hundreds of couples conceive that otherwise could not have, including the 2 families involved (the pregnant woman as has a 16 month old conceived with them, and the bio parents have 2 y/o twins). What most likely happened is that the embryologist, NOT the RE doc, made and honest HUMAN mistake and thawed the wrong embryos for transfer. While tragic, I am 99% sure it was not intentional. I am also sure that this person feels horrible, and is probably dysfunctional with guilt as it is. This facility DID realize it's error, and owned up to it and notified both sets of parents within a reasonable amount of time. Trust me, they KNOW they did wrong, and they did not try to cover it up.



My question is, does one unintentioned mistake undo all the other miracles they have helped create? I am sure that this resulted in a complete overhaul of their entire system, and they now have a process of double and triple checks to ensure that this never happens again (wait times will increase, and patients will bitch, I assure you!), but the bottom line is, MISTAKES HAPPEN IN MEDICINE BECAUSE IT"S PRACTIONERS ARE HUMAN. To those of you who find that unacceptable, I have to ask if you have ever made an honest mistake in YOUR job?? Sorry, but it happens to the best of us...it's just that, for some reason, we find the imperfections and humanity of those in the medical profession unacceptable, but then love to bitch about their God complexes in the next breath.

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Jocelyn - posted on 09/29/2009

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Wow, what a horrible situation. I'm torn. I believe that the bio parents have every right to a child that is theirs. BUT I also believe that since it was the clinics fuck up, that the woman who is preg and carrying the child also has a right to the baby (if she would want it even if it wasn't biologically hers). I think that if I was in that situation, and the bio parents didn't want the baby and signed over all rights to it immediately) that I would keep it, but I don't think I would be able to give it up (I could never be a surrogate) so I would probably have aborted early on if it was going to be an issue. I do like the idea that one woman said about the "you're having my baby, let me have yours". In which case all medical bills should be paid in full by the clinic, along with compensation for both families.
Well, all the woman's medical bills should be paid in full by the clinic anyways!

Sharon - posted on 09/28/2009

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OOPPS shit - dayum someone screwed the pooch big time huh? Damn, I wonder what they'll do... i wonder how they found out?

Konda - posted on 09/28/2009

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An IVF hospital in NOLA, big big hospital, screwed up all of the embryos....they have shut the IVF part down....they have embryos and have no clue who they belong to.....they were all mislabeled.....now how is that for an f-up....and it is illegal to destroy embryos in Louisiana.

Jodi - posted on 09/27/2009

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Yeah, I know Mary - I know someone who was actually one of the objects of the supposedly celebate and it is going through court right now.....that's what happens when a bunch of men get together around 1000AD and decide to interpret the Apostles. Men can't interpret bloody anything even if their life depended on it!!!

Mary - posted on 09/27/2009

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Actually, the Catholic church is against IVF...I'm not fully knowledgeable about this, but I believe that IUI is "ok". I am employed by a Catholic hospital, and when I was undergoing infertility treatments, my insurance would only cover IUI and fertility drugs...they were not required to cover IVF based on their religious objections (they will not cover birth control or tubal ligations either). Currently, MD state law requires all insurance plans cover 3 IVF cycles, but Catholic institutions are absolved from this. As a Catholic, I can assure you that the Church is FULL of hypocrisy in it's "rules". Remeber, we are not talking about the 10 Commandments, but rather their laws, which were all comprised by [supposedly] celebate men!

Jodi - posted on 09/27/2009

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OK, I saw the news today that she has had the baby, and has given it up. I really feel for her on this one.



However, I noticed in the article I read that they decided not to abort because of their Catholic faith.



I don't have a problem with this at all. But the Catholic faith basically teaches that abortion is interfering with God's will right? (my husband is Catholic and my children are baptised Catholic and attend Catholic schools, so while I am not Catholic, I have been learning as I go). So tell me how IVF is any different with respect to interfering with God's will??? Religion and hypocrisy???



New topic???

[deleted account]

Quoting Sharon:









I agree.  There needs to be a cap on this insanity.






 






My solution would be college funds for the existing children, coverage of any and all costs for their surrogate and coverage for any mental health fallout over the next 10 years for the entire family and life time mental health care for the pregnant mom.






 






IF the other family wasn't currently in the process of attempting to get pregnant again - the center needs to pay child support based off the bio dads income.






$10,000 per family member in the pregnant moms' case for pain & suffering.






 






Stuff not covered legally - I hope the bio family sends pictures and detailed updates at least every 6 months but once a mont a nice note and picture would be better IF they can't bring themselves to include the other family in their lives.





I think that's an excellent and suitable amount of monetary compensation-and more along the lines of what I meant than that they should just get millions upon millions.

Sharon - posted on 09/23/2009

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Quoting Mary:

Yes, I think that this IVF center should be held accountable for ALL expenses incurred as a result of this tragic MISTAKE, including Carolyn's care during her pregnancy/delivery, her attempts to have her own biological child with a surrogate (they have already initiated this process) as well as any mental health counseling either couple may need. they should also be responsible for covering the costs of any further IVF cycles the other couple may wish to pursue. BUT, I don't think that either family should become wealthy over this tragedy. I'm sorry, but that is a BIG contributing factor in our rising healthcare costs in the US. Financial compensation can never "fix" this situation...it is the malpractice insurance companies who will foot that bill, and they will do so by raising ALL of their clients rates....a cost that is then passed on to you and I. Sorry, but unless you are talking about the loss of income of the family breadwinner over their lifetime as a result of medical MALPRACTICE, I believe that large financial settlements that are not directly needed to cover ongoing medical or custodial care are just plain wrong.




I agree.  There needs to be a cap on this insanity.



 



My solution would be college funds for the existing children, coverage of any and all costs for their surrogate and coverage for any mental health fallout over the next 10 years for the entire family and life time mental health care for the pregnant mom.



 



IF the other family wasn't currently in the process of attempting to get pregnant again - the center needs to pay child support based off the bio dads income.



$10,000 per family member in the pregnant moms' case for pain & suffering.



 



Stuff not covered legally - I hope the bio family sends pictures and detailed updates at least every 6 months but once a mont a nice note and picture would be better IF they can't bring themselves to include the other family in their lives.

Sharon - posted on 09/23/2009

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Quoting Konda:

OK, I got off my lazy ass, well not really, but so to speak, and read the article......OMG, no no no, I could not give the child away after carrying it and giving birth. I am at a loss for words, I really needed to read this before opening my mouth up there, I need to delete my posts. As I have said, I would adopt, but I could never ever give up a child.

Oh man, this woman is brave or crazy....or a saint, I couldn't do it.



I'm with you.  But I guess she did the best thing.  Considering how difficult it was for her to get pregnant and have a baby she has 100% empathy for the bio mom.



 



And she would lose in a court case.  Apparently this has happened before and the bio parents always get custody of their bio baby.



 



To top it off, she's been warned to not get pregnant again.

Shannon Cassidy- - posted on 09/23/2009

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I feel awful for the women who has carried this baby for 9 months , getting ready to deliver him just to have him taken from her, not being able to take him home with her that is heartwrenching. That doctor that implanted the embryo should diffenitly be he accountable for that. What thoughs families are going through.

[deleted account]

Hmmm...Actually that depends on where you are, I guess. Every doctor around here has a responsibility to perform life-saving measures on a person who is about to die-not even private hospitals can turn you away if you're either in labor or have a life-threatening condition. So no, the doc cannot opt not to do the surgery.

I can understand your point about not getting rich off malpractice suits-although I'm not sure I agree-because it certainly is one of the reasons that medicine is in trouble. But I'm not sure what a viable alternative is.

There are some mistakes so big that in any job you are fired if you make them-and they vary from job to job. In medicine, a mistake such as implanting the wrong embryo is unacceptable, and if the clinic is not willing to fire the employee in question then they should be shut down. Honest mistake or no, it cost two families some devastating problems that cannot be undone.

Now here's my example: My sister-in-law went to the hospital for a broken leg. She had to stay there until they operated on it because she had an upper respiratory infection and they can't operate if you have an infection. While she was in, they didn't pay enough attention to her and she got pneumonia and ended up in the ICU. While in the ICU, someone gave her a large dose of insulin meant for a diabetic patient, which partially destroyed her pancreas and made her borderline diabetic. They changed her life drastically by making mistakes-and it's unacceptable.

We're not talking about slight mishaps-we're talking about mistakes so big they change the course of people's lives.

Mary - posted on 09/23/2009

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Believe me, physicians are held to a higher standard than the average person...but they are still human, and even with constant vigilance, mistakes will be made. I just don't think that unwarranted financial compensation is the answer. They are more educated than you, but still just as human.



Let me give you an example....you show up in the ER at 2am with a rupture appendix. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgery or you will become septic and die. Every general surgeon has been in the OR and/or office all day long with patients, so who ever you call IS going to be sleep deprived and not at the top of their game. Should they wait, and let you get septic, until the am when a doc is more rested, or do you expect someone to rush in and do their very best to safely remove that appendix? Chances of an honest mistake increase, since it is 3 or 4am by the time you are diagnosed and in surgery, but the longer you wait, the more risk of life -threatening infection. Considering the way lawsuits are these days, that doc would be better off refusing to come in, stating that he is not at his best, and rather than risk a mistake (and lawsuit), he's going to wait until he has had a more proper amount of sleep. Can't blame him for that if these are the expectations of his patients, can you? He doesn't OWE you anything, since you were not an existing patient already under his care...he's doing you a favor by rushing in there in the middle of the night to save your sorry life, even though you think you should be able to sue the hell out of him for the slightest mishap.

[deleted account]

Yes, but my job doesn't involve life or death.

I'm sorry, but I completely disagree with the idea that this is not malpratice. If a surgeon left an instrument inside me when closing back up from an operation, I'm sure he didn't *mean* to do it-but that doesn't change the fact that it's done, and that my life and body are changed because of the mistake he made. Doctors, fortunately or no for them, have to be held to a higher standard than other professionals, because they are doing a job that requires constant vigilance and correctness.

[deleted account]

Quoting Jodi:

I think what she has done is wonderful. I'm not sure what I would have done in her shoes. But consider the one that happened a couple of years ago (link below if you are not aware of it) where the wrong embryo was implanted in a woman and she aborted it. Unfortunately, it was the last embryo the bio parents had, and their last chance to have another baby.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...



Oh my god, how horribly sad for everyone involved. I cannot even imagine the strength this couple has to give this other couple such a wonderful gift-nor can I imagine the couple whose last chance was taken from them all because of an irresponsible lab tech.



 



There should be a lot of monetary compensation all the way around-although it won't fix the problem, it would at least be a gesture to prove the clinics knew they did something wrong.

Jodi - posted on 09/22/2009

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I think what she has done is wonderful. I'm not sure what I would have done in her shoes. But consider the one that happened a couple of years ago (link below if you are not aware of it) where the wrong embryo was implanted in a woman and she aborted it. Unfortunately, it was the last embryo the bio parents had, and their last chance to have another baby.



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...

Esther - posted on 09/22/2009

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What a horrible nightmare. I cannot even imagine. I think both couples are obviously victims of the clinic's negligence and I think they should both sue them to the end of the earth & back. I do think this couple is doing the right thing. As horrifying as it is and as heartbreaking as it is, I also couldn't imagine them keeping some other couple's biological child. A couple who didn't ask to be in this situation either and have had their own infertility struggles. At this point there just aren't any good answers anymore. Horrifying.

Evelyn - posted on 09/22/2009

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I'd go with both brave and saint. What a truly generous act...I'd like to think I would do the same if faced w/a similar situation! Heartbreaking and amazing story...

Konda - posted on 09/22/2009

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OK, I got off my lazy ass, well not really, but so to speak, and read the article......OMG, no no no, I could not give the child away after carrying it and giving birth. I am at a loss for words, I really needed to read this before opening my mouth up there, I need to delete my posts. As I have said, I would adopt, but I could never ever give up a child.

Oh man, this woman is brave or crazy....or a saint, I couldn't do it.

Dawn - posted on 09/22/2009

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Kudos for the family. I'm sure the bio-parents are happy. Just cause you are implanted doesn't mean you will get pregnant and carry thru without a miscarriage.

Lindsay - posted on 09/22/2009

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OMG, what a tough situation! I have to say that this couple deserves the upmost respect for deciding to carry this child just to give it up. I can't imagine how hard that would be. Hopefully they will have plenty of karma on their side after all of this! =)

[deleted account]

Yeah, it's a tough situation. Definitely not ideal but if they could just look at it like life throwing them the biggest curve ball EVER and work together, I think it could be worked out. Then the babies both grow up with extra, extended family and they each have two mothers who love them more than life itself. I also agree with Jenifer that they should get some kind of compensation....both of the women. And the doctor (or whoever is ultimately responsible for the mix up) should cover the cost of doing the implant on the other mother, as well as covering all medical expenses for both women. Plus a big slab of moolah on the side for both women to put the kids through college lol

Sharon - posted on 09/22/2009

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Good idea Joy. Then the two families would be united - damn I hope they have common parenting styles and what not, has to be soooo hard....

[deleted account]

I completely agree, she had no intention of being a surrogate, and it must take a lot of strength to get through the pregnancy. I do hope she gets some sort of compensation from the doctor and hospital responsible for the screw-up.

As an aside, here's the article about the similar case from Japan: http://www.slate.com/id/2214057/

[deleted account]

When I saw this on the news last night I formed a fast opinion. They should have the other mother (the one whose embryos got put in the wrong mother) have the pregnant woman's baby. Basically have them have each other's babies. That way, no one loses and it's fair. Of course, I realize that you can't MAKE a woman have someone else's baby. But if the other mother was willing to get pregnant with her own embryos, the fact that someone else got hers wasn't the other mother's fault. I think it would be a kind gesture to say, "Hey, the doctors made this mistake, not us. You're having my baby so here, let me have yours." I mean, ultimately, they both wanted to be pregnant anyways right? This way, they both get to be pregnant, and they each walk away with a child that now has a strong connection to TWO mothers, not just one. Kind of an odd "blended" family situation.

Sharon - posted on 09/22/2009

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Planning to be a surrogate is one thing. Planning to have your own child and finding out its not yours... so much different. I don't think I could do it. Its a mind set you go in to the office with.

[deleted account]

I thought the same thing when I saw the article yesterday. I felt that maybe she should be the one getting custody. However, I imagine the other family involved has a similar story. They likely had a limited number of embryos, which are now gone as a result of being improperly implanted. I do think this family is doing the right thing, despite the pain involved. And I hope they are successful in finding a surrogate. But to say they should have the right to they baby she's carrying now, would imply that any surrogate has the rights to the child over the biological parent. In some states (PA I know for sure) this is the case right now. I also know that this issue of wrong embryo being implanted happened recently in Japan, and pregnant woman chose to terminate. I have a lot of respect for the Savage family for doing that they're doing.

Sharon - posted on 09/22/2009

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LOL you missed it - she had a baby fifteen years ago, and is pregnant now with the wrong embryo. The 15 yr old child is hers.

Konda - posted on 09/22/2009

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OK, I'll admit I didn't read all of the article....but bullshit, after 15 years she should not have to give the child up. That would be detrimental to the child/teen. There is no proof that the embryo would have become a baby in the biological mother to begin with. If it was a switched at birth thing, I still don't know, if I had raised the other child for 15 years, IT would be mine....



Urgghhhh, that is one reason a have such a problem with stuff like this, I completely understand the desire to have a baby of your own...well sort of, I'm adopted so I have no problem with adoption...in my case it beat the hell out of being aborted.



And I missed you too Sharon, I was on and off for a short bit yesterday...I was a domestic goddess and did housework and cooked for hubby....lol, doesn't happen often.

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