Hospital says it likely identified woman whose embryo was placed in another’s uterus

Assuta Medical Center says it has narrowed list of possible women from 40 to 10; individual it believes with high probability is biological mother has been updated

Illustrative image: A lab in an IVF clinic. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Illustrative image: A lab in an IVF clinic. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

A hospital in central Israel announced Friday that it had likely identified the individual whose embryo was accidentally placed in another woman’s uterus during a botched in vitro fertilization procedure.

Assuta Medical Center said it had narrowed the list of possible women from 40 to 10 and that the individual it believes with a high probability is the fetus’s biological mother is not pregnant and has been updated regarding the situation.

On Wednesday, the hospital in Rishon Lezion told the Health Ministry that it had conducted a genetic test on a pregnant woman who had an embryo transfer following IVF, and discovered the fetus was not genetically matched to the woman or her partner. The woman is in her 30th week of pregnancy.

The updated assessment came a day after the hospital said it had narrowed down its search for the fetus’s biological parents to roughly 40 couples.

The ministry has established a committee to investigate the incident.

The hospital added that all cases conducted in the relevant lab were being closely examined.

According to a Thursday report on Channel 12, this wasn’t the first time Assuta had been at the center of an embryo mix-up.

The network said the hospital had also lost an embryo belonging to another couple. The woman from that previous case told Channel 12 news that the fate of her embryo remained a mystery, saying she feared that it was transferred to someone else’s womb. It was unclear exactly when the incident occurred.

According to the network, the couple came to a financial settlement with the hospital after the embryo was lost.

An anonymous former hospital employee said she’d witnessed several instances of neglect involving the handling of embryos while working at Assuta.

The hospital refused to respond to the anonymous claims.

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