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Suit says California fertility clinic implanted destroyed embryos in patients

Several couples are suing a southern California fertility center over claims that the facility staff destroyed their embryos in a “toxic incubator” and later implanted these embryos into the women who sought their services. So far 11 couples have sued Tennessee-based Ovation Fertility’s Newport Beach office, with more lawsuits expected to come down the line.

Ovation clinic staff are alleged to have mistakenly cleaned an incubator that held the embryos of dozens of patients awaiting implantation with hydrogen peroxide instead of the usual sterile solution. The use of peroxide created a “toxic incubator” that killed the embryos that were then transferred into the plaintiffs between 18 January and 30 January, none of whom became pregnant.

Ovation realized that there was an issue when they noticed a 0% success rate among their patients, according to ABC News.

“My clients are devastated by Ovation’s serious error,” attorney Adam Wolf said. “For some victims, this was their last chance to have a biologically related child.

“The only thing we can seek is monetary compensation and accountability from Ovation,” he continued. “We want to know what happened, how it happened, and they want to make sure this never happens again.”

The first pair of lawsuits against Ovation were filed on 18 April by Wolf and fellow attorney Melisa Rosadini-Knott. A joint lawsuit with nine other affected couples was submitted to the Orange county superior court on Tuesday by Robert Marcereau, a malpractice attorney with a fertility law group, ABC news reports. There are six more lawsuits coming, according to Wolf.

All of the plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial and are suing on several grounds including negligence, medical battery and intentional representation.

Wolf’s clients also allege that Ovation failed to properly train and supervise staff members who work with incubators, which is where embryos are placed before they are transferred to a person’s uterus. Ovation also allegedly misrepresented the health of the embryos before implantation, even though the organization should have known otherwise, the complaint alleges.

As in vitro fertilization gains popularity and more clinics spring up, instances of fraud – including doctors implanting their own sperm in unsuspecting patients and patients being implanted with the wrong embryos – have also increased.

And while the lawsuits against Ovation Fertility’s Newport Beach office are focused on a single actor in the ever-growing fertility industry Wolf, whose law firm has represented more than 1,000 victims in cases against fertility clinics over more than 10 years, says that mistakes that destroy people’s chance for biological children will continue if regulators fail to step in.

“In virtually all of those cases the problem stems from human error,” Wolf added. “Those errors would be far less common if we had meaningful oversight and regulation over the fertility industry.”


Full Story: The Guardian April 24 2024

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