A fertility clinic in Rome is under fire after a mistake has led to one women being pregnant with another couple’s child. The Italian couple were informed in March that they are not pregnant with the embryos created with the women’s eggs. Instead, they will now give birth to a child biologically matched to one of the other three couples who were seeking treatment at the clinic at the same time. Alarmingly, the clinic was unaware of the issue until a routine scan showed that the baby did not genetically match it’s parents.
The health ministry of Italy has launched an investigation into the operations of the clinic. Beatrice Lorezin, Health Minister of Italy said that the national standards of assisted fertilization were “very rigorous” and are based upon accepted European standards.
This raises a number of serious ethics questions. Such as; which couple will get to keep the baby? If a paternity case ensues who has the rights to this child?
It is unknown if any of the other couples seeking treatment have become pregnant. What if the biological parents of this child are unable to conceive?
This isn’t the first case that a laboratory mix-up has occurred in an IVF clinic. The were a case similar to this in California but the mother was not told until after the birth of her son that biologically, he was somebody else’s child.
There has been a number of procedures implemented to prevent risks of these situations. Such has manual double checking of each specimen. Which is known as double witnessing. There has also been an increase in technological advancements that further reduce these risks. Although these reiterates the questions; how can this kind of mix-up happen? Does it happen more often and go undetected? Which couple will raise this baby?