A couple who used a Pasadena fertility clinic to have a child via in vitro fertilization have filed a lawsuit against the facility after alleging that doctors mistakenly transferred an embryo that had previously tested positive for a deadly cancer gene.
The lawsuit centers around Huntington Reproductive Center Fertility.
Attorneys for the couple say the facility conducted genetic testing to screen the couple’s embryos for cancer genes and other genetic anomalies.
Despite the embryo testing positive and being ruled out as a suitable embryo, the couple’s lawyers say the incorrect embryo was transferred and implanted in the uterus and the child was born with the deadly stomach cancer gene.
The child will eventually require a major surgery as a teenager as a preventative measure of the deadly cancer, according to Adam Wolf, the couple’s attorney.
“The child, who is now 1 year old, will require a major, life-altering stomach removal surgery when he is 15 years old due to an imminent diagnosis of hereditary diffuse gastric cancer,” a press release reads.
Wolf alleges that HRC Fertility, upon discovering that the wrong embryo was transferred, attempted to “conceal its blunder by altering the records that it sent to its patients.”
Wolf and the parents filed the lawsuit Wednesday and held a virtual press conference to discuss the story.
HRC Fertility offers a wide range of fertility services, including IVF, egg freezing and semen analysis. The clinic is affiliated with Keck Medicine of USC and is a popular choice for people experiencing fertility issues, with several locations across the Los Angeles area.
In 2022, the clinic was sued by a gay couple who alleged they only wanted sons but had a daughter via surrogate in 2021. Portions of that lawsuit were tossed out, but the suit is set to be heard in November, according to City News Service.
On Wednesday, HRC Fertility provided a formal statement to KTLA in which it said it empathized with the parents, but said the genetic testing was done outside of its facility by a third party.
“The patients associated with the case sought genetic testing and genetic counseling outside of HRC Fertility, and with an outside party; they wished to have a male embryo transferred, which we carried out according to the family’s explicit wishes and in accordance with the highest level of care,” the statement reads in part.
The fertility clinic said it stood by the professionalism and expertise of its staff and says the clinic has helped thousands of people achieve their dreams of becoming parents.
“We … pride ourselves on adhering to the highest standards for patient care, patient records, results, and testing at all our locations. Since 1988, we have remained dedicated to helping hopeful parents build families through assisted reproductive technology, compassion, expertise, innovation, cutting-edge research and personalized care,” the statement concludes.