A Southern California couple is suing a fertility clinic, claiming their embryo was mistakenly implanted in a New York woman, who gave birth to their son as well as a second boy belonging to another couple.
The lawsuit by Anni and Ashot Manukyan describes an alleged in vitro fertilization mix-up by CHA Fertility Center in Los Angeles that involves three separate couples, and alleges the clinic violated a California law that bars knowingly using "sperm, ova, or embryos in assisted reproduction technology, for any purpose other than that indicated by the sperm, ova, or embryo provider's signature on a written consent form."
The birth mother in New York believed she was carrying twins made from her and her husband's genetic material, the suit says. Genetic testing confirmed the two infants were not related to the couple and were not related to each other. The Queens woman and her husband filed a separate medical malpractice and negligence lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn last week. The Manukyans, of Glendale, endured a court fight before being granted custody of their son, according to the court filing. They are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
In addition, Anni Manukyan was mistakenly implanted with at least one embryo of a stranger, when she thought the embryo resulted from her and her husband's genetic material, according to the lawsuit. That implantation did not result in a successful pregnancy, the court papers say. It's unclear from the lawsuits who the third couple is or what happened to the other boy.
With files from AP
Dov Fox, professor of law and director of the Center for Health Law and Bioethics at the University of San Diego; his new book is “Birth Rights and Wrongs: How Medicine and Technology are Remaking Reproduction and the Law” (Oxford University Press, July 2019)
Aaron Kheriaty, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Medical Ethics Program at the School of Medicine at UC Irvine
Kristin Bendikson, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine