According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, approximately 7.3 million women in the United States have used infertility services. Such services include in vitro fertilization, which resulted in just under 69,000 live births in 2017.
IVF and other fertility services are not only effective in helping parents conceive children–they are also big business. A January 2019 report by IBIS World estimated the total revenue of the U.S. fertility clinic industry at $2 billion for 2019.
But it may surprise you to learn that fertility clinics are not that heavily regulated. There is actually little oversight at either the federal or state levels of IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies. As a result, even those patients who successfully received such treatments may not even realize they have been potential victims of medical malpractice or professional negligence until years after the fact.
Doctor May Have Used Own Sperm to Conceive Patient’s Child
For example, some children conceived thru IVF have subsequently learned that their father’s sperm was not actually used during the conception process. This was apparently the case for one 24-year-old Ohio woman, who learned her father was not her biological father only last year. According to a report in USA Today, the woman “thought it would be fun during Christmas 2018 if the whole family took DNA tests.” Unfortunately, the testing revealed the woman “couldn’t genetically be” her father’s child.
The parents filed a lawsuit in early August against the Institute for Reproductive Health in Cincinnati and Christ Hospital in Mount Auburn, which were responsible for the IVF procedure that led to their daughter’s conception. The complaint alleges that Christ Hospital employees “combined [the mother’s] eggs with the sperm of a complete stranger.” USA Today added the family has narrowed the identity of the biological father “to one of five medical professionals, including a doctor.”
USA Today also noted this case was the third such lawsuit filed nationwide in recent weeks over allegations of fertility clinic negligence. In July, two couples filed separate lawsuits in New York and California, respectively, after learning that genetic material from the California couple was “allegedly put into the womb” of the New York mother. The New York mother subsequently gave birth to twins, neither of whom were genetically related to her. Both children were later turned over to their respective biological parents.
Contact the Cleveland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Tittle & Perlmutter Today
Although we like to think of doctors and other healthcare providers as trusted professionals, the reality is that many of them are simply in business to make money. This often leads to negligent–and in some cases, potentially criminal–behavior. And it may be months or years before the truth of this potential negligence or malpractice comes to the forefront.
If you find yourself in a position where a healthcare professional has betrayed your trust, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Cleveland medical malpractice lawyer. Contact Tittle & Perlmutter today at (216) 308-1522 to sit down with an attorney who can explain your legal options.