Parents given wrong embryo set to sue hospital for NIS 100 million

Lawsuit against Assuta Hospital to focus on malpractice, distress faced by family; Supreme Court ruled last week to halt genetic testing to find biological couple

Assuta Medical Center in Rishon Lezion. (Screen capture: Google Maps)
Assuta Medical Center in Rishon Lezion. (Screen capture: Google Maps)

The parents of a baby born from a wrongly implanted embryo will sue the hospital responsible for the mixup for NIS 100 million ($27,600,000), Hebrew media reported Wednesday.

Channel 12 reported that the lawsuit will focus on the neglect and incompetence of the fertility clinic at Rishon Lezion’s Assuta Hospital, and the heartbreak faced by the family over the ordeal.

The baby girl was born in late October, shortly after a media uproar over revelations that the embryo was implanted in the wrong in-vitro fertilization (IVF) patient.

The Health Ministry initially sought to find the child’s biological parents, but after one couple thought most likely to be the parents was ruled out by tests, officials announced in November that they would halt the search.

Last week, the Supreme Court decided not to allow further genetic testing to go ahead for six other potential couples to determine if they were the biological parents of the child.

According to the ruling, justices determined that there was very little chance that the six couples may be the biological parents, and that the birth mother and her husband’s legal claim over the child was stronger.

Illustrative image: a single sperm is injected directly into an egg as part of IVF (Lars Neumann via iStock by Getty Images)

Theoretically, the results of testing could result in the removal of the baby from the couple who is raising the child. They have vowed to fight any attempt to remove the infant from their custody.

The birth parents were meant to file a lawsuit against Assuta Hospital in December, but lawyers preferred to delay the action until the legal action surrounding the testing was settled, according to the Channel 12 report.

The Health Ministry considered shuttering the IVF unit at Assuta following the error but eventually decided not to do so. However, it demanded that the department trim its operations by 50 percent — from 10,000 fertilization treatments a year to 5,000.

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