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IVF Clinic Mixes Up Embryos, Family Sues

California Center for Reproductive Health, a Los Angeles-based fertility clinic, is being sued after implanting the wrong embryos into two women during their in vitro fertilization procedures. The families carried their babies to term and only after giving birth, did things not seem quite right.

Daphna and Alexander Cardinale were trying for a second child and turned to IVF as a solution. They gave birth to a healthy baby girl. However, the baby's appearance didn't seem quite right to the new parents. The lawsuit claims:

"He (Alexander) expected to see a fair child, much like their older daughter. Instead, their birth daughter came out with much darker skin and jet-black hair. She looked to be of a different race, which made no sense in light of Daphna and Alexander's respective backgrounds."

The Cardinales had a DNA test done and after eight weeks, they found out their bouncy baby girl was not related to either Daphna or Alexander. This is when they discovered that their biological embryo was transferred to another couple. This was, of course, heartbreaking news for the family.

Daphna Cardinale states:

"I was robbed of the ability to carry my own child. I never had the opportunity to grow and bond with her during pregnancy, to feel her kick, or to watch her in ultrasounds."

According to their attorney, the fertility clinic outsourced the handling of the embryos to In VitroTech Labs, Inc. (a third-party embryology lab). It's unclear where the mix up took place, but the lawsuit is alleging that the comapnies "recklessly, negligently, and/or knowingly lost or actively decided to give" the Cardinales' embryos to the other couple (who remains unidentified in the lawsuit).

The lawsuit continues:

"Daphna and Alexander did not even know of their biological daughter's existence until she was three months old. Another month passed before they would finally bring her home for good. Meanwhile, they were forced to give up forever the daughter whom Daphna carried to term and to whom their whole family had irrevocably bonded."

The two families did meet up and, at first, decided to take turns with overnight stays. Eventually, the "constant switching" became to difficult and the families decided to make the switch permanent.

The lawsuit also states:

"The long-term consequences of this baby swap continue to haunt their entire family. Instead of breastfeeding her own biological child, Daphna breastfed and bonded with a child she was forced to give away."

The lawsuit calls for a jury trial and the family is seeking other damages.

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