A California couple is accusing a fertility clinic of mistakenly implanting the wrong embryo with a genetic mutation for rare cancer, then covering it up, The Washington Post reported March 1.
The father, Jason Diaz, said he was diagnosed with the inherited disease at 32 and had to have his stomach removed as well as undergo chemotherapy. The couple opted for in vitro fertilization and genetic testing to ensure their child did not endure the same fate.
The clinic produced five embryos and the couple selected a male embryo without the genetic mutation. The child was born in 2021. It was not until the Diazes started planning for a second child that Ms. Diaz requested her records from the fertility clinic, Huntington Reproductive Center Medical Group of Pasadena. Her records showed the embryo contained the cancer mutation, and a handwritten notation said it was “transferred” to her on the implantation date. Ms. Diaz requested another copy of her records and received them in October. This version did not include the notation about the transfer or the handwritten note, according to the Post.
The couple is suing the clinic over the “altered, falsified version of the report” and implanting the wrong embryo, according to the report.
The couple’s year-old child faces standard treatment of surgical stomach removal to prevent the development of “diffuse gastric cancer” when he reaches maturity.
HRC Fertility said it empathized with the Diazes but added the genetic testing was done 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,” HRC Fertility said in a statement to Becker’s. “We also stand by the professionalism and expertise of our medical staff and pride ourselves on adhering to the highest standards for patient care, patient records, results, and testing at all our locations.”