A medical institution has launched an investigation after discovering that up to 26 women’s eggs may have been fertilised by the wrong sperm at its IVF laboratory.
IVF Couple’s Worst Fear
It’s something that many couples going through IVF worry about but deep down don’t think will happen. But it appears possible that at a Dutch IVF clinic the wrong sperm during the fertilisation process.
The Utrecht University Medical Centre said a new “procedural error” introduced at the medical centre between April 2015 and November 2016 was to blame.
It set up a frequently asked questions forum to help answer people’s concerns. According to the statement, the errors were ongoing for more than a year.
“The UMC’s board regrets that the couples involved had to receive this news and will do everything within its powers to give clarity on the issue as soon as possible,“ the statement read.
“During fertilisation, sperm cells from one treatment couple may have ended up with the egg cells of 26 other couples.”
What Does It Mean?
According to the medical centre there was a chance that some of the embryos have been fertilised by the sperm that wasn’t the intended father.
This terrible situation means that potentially dozens of families will be facing uncertain futures.
“Therefore there’s a chance that the egg cells have been fertilised by sperm other than that of the intended father,” the centre says.
Although the chance of that happening was small the possibility “could not be excluded.”
Shockingly half the women who underwent fertility treatment had become pregnant or given birth.
“For some of the 26 couples frozen embryos are still available but the chance remains that they [too] have been fertilised by the sperm from a man other than the intended father.”
It’s been reported by the BBC that all the couples are due to meet doctors from the centre in the coming days and will be offered the option of a DNA test.
Not The First Time
Here in Australia there haven’t been any reported IVF mix-ups. However, in 2012 a Singapore mother sued a clinic for alleged negligence after it mixed up her husband’s sperm with that of a stranger.
The BBC reports that the ethnic Chinese woman first suspected that something was amiss when her baby, who was born in 2010, had markedly different skin tone and hair colour from her Caucasian husband.
Did you know here in Australia that new research is hoping to make IVF cheaper and more efficient? If you’re pregnant and after a nutritious smoothie, try the Healthy Mummy range here.