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IVF lab manager: Certain percentage of women unknowingly carry others’ embryos

Assuta official claims more stories haven’t surfaced nationwide only because patients who have given birth don’t usually undergo genetic testing; Assuta says that’s untrue

Illustrative: An in vitro fertilization embryologist works on a petri dish at a fertility clinic in London, August 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Illustrative: An in vitro fertilization embryologist works on a petri dish at a fertility clinic in London, August 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

The IVF laboratory manager at Assuta Medical Center in Rishon Lezion said Tuesday that a “certain percentage” of women who undergo in vitro fertilization all over the country carry an embryo that is not their own.

“There is a certain percentage of women who carry a pregnancy that is not theirs or give birth to a child that is not exactly theirs,” the unidentified manager told Channel 12.

Assuta recently discovered that a woman who had undergone IVF treatment was carrying an embryo that was not her own. The facility was reportedly barred by the Health Ministry from accepting new IVF patients on Saturday. The woman was 30 weeks pregnant when the mistake was uncovered.

When asked if there may have been other IVF mix-ups in his lab, the manager said that this had likely occurred in “all labs” throughout the country.

There have not been any reported incidents of IVF mix-ups outside of the Assuta Medical Center network, which has locations throughout Israel.

“You haven’t heard about these stories simply because they haven’t surfaced. A couple who undergoes treatment and has a child is not going to check for genetic affiliation,” the manager said.

Responding to the man’s assertion, Assuta Medical Center said it was “erroneous,” adding that “as far as we are aware, there are no additional cases.” It said its investigation into the case was ongoing.

The manager also said that they had not yet located the biological embryo of the pregnant woman, nor had they successfully identified whose embryo had been implanted in her.

On Friday, the hospital announced it had narrowed the list of potential mothers of the embryo from 40 to 10 .

The manager added that the Health Ministry and professionals were examining the lab’s procedures and that the lab would address any findings.

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

A former hospital employee last week anonymously claimed that she’d witnessed several instances of neglect involving the handling of embryos while working at Assuta, a claim the hospital refused to respond to.

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