In roughly six months, an Italian woman will give birth to another couple’s twins. In a fertility treatment gone wrong, the woman was implanted with another couple's embryos, a mistake that was discovered when she was three months pregnant.
Italy’s health ministry said it was investigating the little mix-up, which occurred at Sandro Pertini Hospital in Rome.
Four couples were receiving treatment at the same unit. It is so far unknown whether the other two women received the correct embryos. A geneticist is in charge of finding out whether there were other cases of “genetic incompatibility.”
Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said investigators would look at whether the hospital had "respected all the legal procedures" during the process.
"The national standards on assisted fertilization, which are based on European directives, are very rigorous, and if applied correctly, guarantee the traceability of all biological material used in the reproduction process," she said.
Yet Roman health authorities didn’t know about the problem until March 27, and Lorenzin herself only learned about it through press reports.
The clinic has suspended embryo implementation until the investigation is complete.
Newser reports that mix-ups in assisted pregnancies have made the news on more than one occasion. In 2009, an Ohio woman gave birth to a baby boy who came from another couple’s embryo, while the same thing happened to a San Francisco woman in 2000.
In that case, the doctor hid his mistake, despite realizing it as soon as he implanted the wrong embryo. Ten months after the birth, a whistleblower informed the Medical Board of California, and the case blew up, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, leading to a custody battle between two parents who were never married.