One couple is now suing the clinic after their baby was unknowingly delivered by another woman
Buckle up, because every single aspect of this story is heartbreakingly awful for every parent involved. One couple, Anni and Ashot Manukyan, decided to get pregnant with their second child via in vitro fertilization and used the CHA fertility clinic in California to harvest their embryos. The clinic then made an unforgivable error in mixing up their embryos with those of another couple’s, leading to devastation all around.
In August 2018, the clinic transferred two of what were thought to be the Manukyans’ embryos into Anni’s uterus. They were devastated when the process did not result in a pregnancy. They later learned that those embryos weren’t even theirs — they belonged to another couple, or possibly more than one couple.
Fast forward to March 2019 — one of the embryos belonging to the Manukyans was implanted in the uterus of a mother in Queens, New York. That woman gave birth to a baby boy on March 31, as well as another son who genetically belonged to another couple.
To clarify: the Manukyans had no idea one of their embryos was misplaced at all, let alone implanted in another woman. The woman who delivered their genetic son was also not the biological mother of the second baby she was carrying. She had been expecting twin daughters with her husband, and instead delivered two baby boys who weren’t her biological children. Three families and their embryos are all embroiled in a traumatic nightmare none of them signed up for.
The Manukyans are now suing the clinic for the devastating, horrific mixup. Can you imagine what this has done to the three families involved? “CHA robbed me of my ability to carry my own child, to be with him in the first couple moments of his life, to nurse him, to just do skin on skin contact. Just be a mom to him,” Anni said.
The lawsuit accuses CHA Fertility of medical malpractice, negligence, and multiple other charges. The Manukyans’ attorney, Adam Wolf, calls this nightmare one of the worst fertility center tragedies in U.S. history. “The number of things that went wrong here is just plain staggering,” he tells CNN.
On April 11, 2019, the Manukyans were asked to come into the clinic in question for a “routine quality control measure” that included a cheek swab from both parents. The very next day, a doctor at the clinic told them that a baby boy born in Queens was their genetic match.
The Manukyans spent the next several weeks trying to get more information about the baby and how something of this magnitude could have happened. They had to sue in family court to obtain custody, and the boy was 6 weeks old by the time they got to see him.
“Who wants to meet their child in the lobby of a hotel?” Anni says. “It was heartbreaking. It was terrible.”
The couple in Queens also filed a lawsuit against the clinic, according to court documents. The Queens mother, who is Asian, gave birth to two non-Asian babies, the lawsuit states, and DNA testing found that each child was a genetic match to a different couple who were also CHA Fertility clients. She was then forced to give up the two babies she had spent nine months thinking were her own. Simply heartbreaking.
The Manukyans had two IVF embryos kept at the clinic, and, unfortunately, they have not been given any information about what happened to the second one. Despite this horrific incident, Anni says she’s grateful to the other mother in Queens who delivered her child.
“I’m eternally grateful to her for carrying my baby and taking care of him even after birth. She’s a wonderful woman and I pray for her every day,” she says. “God will give her her own beautiful babies one day. She deserves that.”
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