The 2019-2020 New York State budget included legislation mandating insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization. While IVF was already legal in New York, requiring insurance companies to cover it will likely lead to more frequent use of this hazardous and morally objectionable practice. The harms that can result from IVF include harms to the health of egg donors and potential increases in the number of “discarded” human embryos.
A recent story from CBS New York shows that in vitro fertilization can lead to another harm: Embryos being mistakenly implanted within the wrong person.
According to CBS New York, a New York woman is claiming that she gave birth to other people’s twins because CHA Fertility Center implanted the wrong embryos in her uterus. The woman and her husband reportedly spent in excess of $100,000 on in vitro fertilization; however, when the woman gave birth to twins, she and her husband—both Asian-American—“were shocked to find [that] neither baby was of Asian descent.” The babies were given to their biological parents, and the couple still does not know what happened to their own embryos. The lawsuit seeks damages for negligence and medical malpractice.
Carolyn Savage, a woman who experienced a similar situation when she and her husband pursued in vitro fertilization, commented: “‘I cannot express how utterly unacceptable this situation is. It is preventable. Protocols need to be followed, and they need to be taken seriously.’”
At New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation, we agree that sad situations like this are preventable. The best way to prevent them is to refrain from using in vitro fertilization in the first place.