LOS ANGELES. According to the lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles, two Californian couples gave birth to each other’s babies after a mess at a fertility clinic and spent months raising other people’s children before switching places.
Daphne Cardinale said that she and her husband Alexander immediately had suspicions that the girl she gave birth in late 2019 does not belong to them because the baby has a darker complexion than theirs.
According to Daphne, they suppressed their doubts because they fell in love with the baby and trusted the IVF process and their doctors. After a few months, she said, upon learning that she was pregnant with a child from another couple and that she was being carried by another woman, she caused permanent injury.
“I was filled with feelings of fear, betrayal, anger and grief,” Daphne said during a press conference at which her husband announced the lawsuit. “I was deprived of the opportunity to carry my own child. I never had the opportunity to grow up and get close to her during pregnancy to feel her blow. “
Complaint Cardinales accuses Los Angeles-based California Center for Reproductive Health (CCRH) and its owner, Dr. Eliran Mora, of medical malpractice, breach of contract, negligence and fraud. He is demanding a jury trial and is demanding indefinite damages.
Yvonne Telles, the center’s office administrator, declined to comment on Monday. Mohr could not be contacted for comment.
According to lawyer Adam Wolff, who represents all four parents, the other two parents involved in the alleged confusion want to remain anonymous and are planning a similar lawsuit in the coming days.
The lawsuit alleges that CCRH mistakenly implanted an embryo from another couple to Daphne and transferred the Cardinal’s embryo, made from Daphne’s egg and Alexander’s sperm, to another woman.
The babies, both girls, were born one week apart in September 2019. Both couples unwittingly raised the wrong baby for nearly three months before DNA tests confirmed the embryos had been swapped.
“The cardinals, including their little daughter, fell in love with this child and were afraid that she would be taken away from them,” the complaint says. “All this time, Alexander and Daphne did not know where their own embryo was, and therefore they were scared that another woman was pregnant with their child – and their child was in the world somewhere without them.”
The babies were swapped back in January 2020.
Confusion like this is extremely rare, but not unprecedented. In 2019, a couple from Glendale, California, sued a separate reproductive health clinic, alleging that 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.
Wolf, whose firm specializes in infertility cases, has called for increased surveillance of IVF clinics.
“This case shows that the industry is desperate for federal regulation,” he said.
Breaking the news to their eldest daughter, now 7, that the doctors made a mistake and that the new baby is not really her sister “was the hardest thing in my life,” Daphne said.
“My heart breaks because of her, probably the most,” she said.
Since this confusion became known, both babies have been returned to their biological families. Since then, all four parents have made an effort to stay in each other’s lives and “create a big family,” Daphne said.
“They were as in love with our biological daughter as we were with theirs,” said Alexander.