Health Ministry summons top Assuta officials, weighs closing its IVF department

Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv's Ramat HaHayal neighborhood, May 20, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv's Ramat HaHayal neighborhood, May 20, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The Health Ministry summons senior officials at Assuta Medical Center for a hearing, saying in a statement that following a series of mix-ups, it is considering shuttering the in vitro fertilization (IVF) department at Assuta’s branch in Tel Aviv’s Ramat HaHayal neighborhood.

The news comes after a case published in recent days in which a child born through in vitro fertility treatment in 2018 is suspected to not be genetically linked to his father.

The Health Ministry says the summons has also been prompted by an incident in which 13 fertilized eggs dried up. The ministry says neither incident was reported to authorities in a timely manner.

“These events and their close proximity, as well as the fact that they weren’t reported to the Health Ministry, raise concerns of harm to the public’s health,” the ministry says. “Therefore, the option of ordering the full or partial closure of the department is being considered.”

The ministry has also appointed a committee that will examine the series of incidents and the circumstances that led to the errors, as well as the hospital department’s general rules and practices.

Last September, a woman discovered that her embryo had been mixed up at the hospital’s Rishon Lezion branch. She and her husband waged a months-long legal battle to keep the baby, Sophia, who was born in October.

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