Switched Embryos and Other Mistakes in IVF and How to Avoid Them

Wrong embryos transferred; embryos, eggs and sperm mislabeled; embryos lost; wrong sperm used. Mistakes happen and infertility patients need to be prepared. What should you know to protect yourself? Our guests will be Dr Jacob F Mayer, Embryologist at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dr. Elizabeth Ginsburg, President of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard, and director of the IVF program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and Jessica Berg, Professor of Law and Biomedical Ethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and Associate Director of the Law-Medicine Center.

Hit the Highlights
  • What rules or guidelines must infertility clinics and labs follow for labeling egg, sperm and embryos?
  • What are standard safeguards that should be used to prevent the wrong sperm or egg from being used for insemination or the wrong embryo from being transferred?
  • How can a patient know if these safeguards are being followed?
  • Who enforces these rules or guidelines?
  • How does the infertility industry respond to the charges that they are unregulated and this lack of regulation resulted in the Octomom, mixed up embryos, and the general cheapening of human life?
  • Other than labeling mistakes, where else can errors in IVF occur?
  • Who are the legal parents of a child that results from the wrong embryos being transferred?
  • Can you and should you compel a DNA test if you are concerned that embryos may have been mixed up?
  • Does a clinic have an obligation to disclose to a patient if an error or mix up has occurred?
  • What can patients do to avoid errors, mistakes, and mix ups when undergoing in vitro fertilization?

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Image Credit: Matthew T. Rader