It’s the nightmare of all couples who want children …
Because Daphna Cardinale and her husband Alexander from California (USA) could not father a child naturally, they turned to a fertility clinic to have a baby there using artificial insemination.
When the young woman actually gave birth to a little girl at the end of 2019, the couple were overjoyed. Even if they were wondering why the baby had a much darker complexion than they did themselves.
But the young parents pushed their doubts aside because they loved the baby and, above all, trusted the clinic, says Daphna. But what she could not have imagined in her wildest dreams: the baby that she carried and cared for for months was not hers at all. The embryos had been swapped in the clinic!
A shock for the parents! “I was overwhelmed with feelings of fear, betrayal, anger, and heartache,” said Daphna. “I was deprived of the opportunity to have my own child. I never had the opportunity to grow with her during pregnancy and to bond with her, to feel her kicks. “
Now the parents are suing the treating clinic. In their lawsuit, the Cardinales accuse the Los Angeles-based California Center for Reproductive Health (CCRH) of medical malpractice, breach of contract, negligence and fraud.
The CCRH implanted the embryo of the other couple in Daphna, and the one made from Daphna’s egg cell and Alexander’s sperm was implanted in the other woman.
The babies, both girls, were born one week apart in September 2019. Both couples unknowingly raised the wrong child for almost three months before DNA tests confirmed the embryos had been swapped, the lawsuit said.
“The Cardinales fell in love with this child and were afraid that it would be taken away from them,” the lawsuit says. “The whole time Alexander and Daphna didn’t know where their own embryo was.”
Bringing the news to her older daughter, who is now seven years old, that the doctors made a mistake and that the new baby is not really her sister, “was the hardest thing in my life,” said Daphna.
The babies were not exchanged back until January 2020. Both parents try to stay in touch and watch both girls grow up together.
The other parents who had the Cardinales’ baby want to remain anonymous, but are planning a similar lawsuit.
Mistakes like this are rare, but they do happen. In 2019, a couple from Glendale, California, sued another fertility clinic for mistakenly implanting their embryo in a New York woman who gave birth to their son and a second boy from another couple.