Los Angeles couple Anni and Ashot Manukyan had spent several months trying to get pregnant through IVF with no success – or so they thought.
In April last year the couple received an urgent message from their IVF clinic for the couple to come in as soon as possible.
When they arrived at the CHA Fertility Center Anni and Ashot Manukyan were told that their son had been born – to a couple they had never met, on the other side of the country.
The two couples had been patients at the CHA Fertility Center, and in 2018, had had their embryo transfers on the same day.
According to a lawsuit filed against CHA Fertility Center by both couples, the clinic mixed up their embryos.
Anni Manukyan’s transfer was unsuccessful, while the couple in New York’s resulted in the birth of twins.
According to the lawsuit, the New York couple had started to worry when an ultrasound revealed twin boys, because their IVF cycle was supposed to have produced only one male embryo.
The couple claims the clinic’s staff dismissed their concerns.
The New York couple are Asian, but when they were born, the babies did not appear to be.
DNA tests were taken, and the couple learned that not only were the twins not related to them at all, they weren’t even related to each other.
One child matched with the Manukyans and the other matched with another third couple.
One the truth was revealed, the Manukyans contacted a lawyers and began the process of getting their child.
According to the lawsuit, the New York couple did not want to give up custody of the boys.
In May last year, a judge ruled in favor of the Manukyans, a decision which devastated the New York couple.
IVF mix-ups are not common in the USA, but neither are they unheard of.
In 1998, Donna Fasano, a white woman, gave birth to twins, one genetically related to her and the other to a black couple.
Both families sued the clinic and came to a financial settlement, but there were no winners in the case. In 1999, a judge awarded custody of the child to its genetic parents, who reportedly later refused visitation rights to the birth mother.
In both these cases, the mix-up was discovered because of racial differences, which has the industry wondering how many mixups between parents of the same race have gone unnoticed.