A large number of women could have been impregnated with an unknown person’s sperm after a Dutch IVF health center made a mistake by mixing up sperm samples during fertility treatment. This procedural mistake could have affected a maximum of 26 women going through IVF treatment between April 2015 and November 2016 according to the University Medical Centre situated in Utrecht.
“During fertilisation, sperm cells from one treatment couple may have ended up with the egg cells of 26 other couples,” the medical centre said in a statement. “Therefore there’s a chance that the egg cells have been fertilised by sperm other than that of the intended father.”
However, the possibility of that happening was little; the prospect ”could not be eliminated.” The women were undergoing a fertility cure known as intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI, where a particular sperm is introduced into a woman’s egg with the help of a pipette.
The expert carrying out the injections is considered to have replaced the pipette after each procedure, but not the rubber top, which should have been insulated by a filter. The expert is considered to have warned the centre after finding remains of sperm in the rubber top.
About half of the 26 have already conceived or given birth according to the clinic.“For some of the 26 couples, frozen embryos are still available but the chance remains that they [too] have been fertilized by the sperm from a man other than the intended father,” the UMC said.
The couples were later briefed about the whole situation. “You put a lot of trust in procedures like this and to find out it happened a different way is very upsetting,” a patient said. Incidents like this have occurred before as well: A woman from Singapore lodged a case against the clinic for mixing up her husband’s sperm with another person in 2012.
In 2014, an Italian lady conceived another couple’s twin babies after the mixing up of sperms at a clinic.
Although the IVF technique has allowed elderly women and couples with virility issues that would usually stop them from having kids to become parents, these incidents shed light on the fact that it has its own disadvantages too.