The law offices of Schmidt & Clark, LLP, have been contacted over numerous fertility issues including lost embryos, destroyed embryos, mishandled sperm samples, inadequate medical testing, and more. It is our hope to serve as a platform for victims to come forward with their stories and seek justice for damages suffered at the hands of negligent fertility clinics and sperm banks.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one received the wrong egg from a fertility clinic, or sperm that came from the wrong donor, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
What is In Vitro Fertilization?
In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a series of procedures used to help with fertility or prevent genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child, according to the Mayo Clinic. The process involves collecting mature eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm in a lab. Once this is complete, the fertilized embryos are transferred to a uterus. IVF may be done with a patient’s own eggs and her partner’s sperm, or eggs and sperm from an anonymous donor. The process can also involve a gestational carrier - a woman who has an embryo implanted in her uterus.
Lawsuit Exposes “National Tragedy” of Unregulated Fertility Clinics
A lawsuit was filed against the Cincinnati Institute for Reproductive Health in August 2019 by a woman who claims she learned from a home DNA kit that the man she thought was her father may actually be a doctor from the clinic, according to Good Morning America. Joseph Cartellone, of Delaware, Ohio, claims he discovered earlier this year that he is not the biological father of his 24-year-old daughter, Rebecca, with his wife, Jennifer. The family claims they made the discovery after Rebecca gave them home DNA kits last Christmas. The lawsuit is the most recent in a string of complaints alleging negligence by fertility clinics across the U.S.
Freezer Malfunction at Cleveland Fertility Clinic Causes 4,000 Lost Embryos
The Beachwood, Ohio-based University Hospitals Fertility Clinic is being accused of losing more than 4,000 frozen embryos and eggs as the result of a freezer malfunction that occurred on a Saturday in March 2008, according to Vox. That same weekend, Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco lost 1,000 embryos after a similar malfunction.
The freezers, which use liquid nitrogen to suspend the embryos at a constant -196 degrees, experienced a mechanical problem that allowed temperatures to rise, and by the time employees arrived for their next shift, everything inside had thawed and become unusable.
Similar freezer tanks are used at nearly 500 other fertility clinics across the U.S. Lawsuits have accused staff at the facilities of failing to refill the tanks’ nitrogen chambers, and clinics for failing to use more sensitive monitoring equipment.
Fertility Clinic Malfunctions in San Francisco, Cleveland Result in Loss of Hundreds of Frozen Eggs
A fertility clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, where thousands of frozen embryos and eggs were allegedly lost in a storage tank failure is being investigated by the Ohio Department of Health, according to the Washington Post. It’s still unclear as to what caused the malfunction, or why nitrogen levels at both the San Francisco and Cleveland fertility clinic failed on the same day. There is no known connection between the facilities, the Post reports.
LA Couple Alleges IVF Mix-Up Left Woman With Strangers’ Twins
A Los Angeles clinic has been accused in a new lawsuit of a fertility treatment mix-up that left a New York woman pregnant with twin boys unrelated to her or to each other, according to the Sacramento Bee. The woman and her husband had been trying to conceive unsuccessfully since they were married in 2012, so they traveled from their home in Queens, New York, to CHA Fertility Center in Los Angeles to consult with their doctors in January 2018. The couple spent over $100,000 on medical treatments in the hopes of conceiving with their own DNA, only to learn later -- after the woman had become pregnant -- that the babies she was carrying were from other couples that had used the clinic and not her husband, according to the lawsuit. As a result, the heartbroken couple was forced to “relinquish custody… suffering the loss of two children,” the complaint states.
Fertility Doctor Used His Own Sperm to Impregnate Women, Lawsuits Claim
During the ‘70s and ‘80s, fertility clinic doctor Donald Cline fathered more than 50 children by using his own sperm on unwitting patients, according to The Atlantic. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that 23andMe home DNA kits began to reveal Cline’s secret. He was eventually convicted of lying to prosecutors and obstructing justice when questioned about complaints alleging he used his own sperm rather than sperm from anonymous donors. Cline lost his medical license but faced no other legal penalties, as no law in Indiana specifically prohibited him from using his own sperm in patients.
Couple Says Wrong Embryos Implanted in IVF Mix-Up: CBS News Video
Is IVF The Right Choice For You?
Resolve, an infertility support group, recommends you consult an in vitro fertilization clinic if you are a:
- Woman who has had more than one miscarriage
- Woman under 35 and haven't gotten pregnant after 12 months of trying
- Woman over 35 and haven't gotten pregnant after 6 months of trying
- Man who's had a poor semen analysis
Before deciding to undergo IVF, do your research. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps a federal database of fertility clinic success rates which may be helpful.
- 1977 - Obstetricians Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards carry out pioneering medical procedures that lay the framework for in vitro fertilization.
- July 25, 1978 - Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby” conceived by in vitro fertilization, is born at the Royal Oldham Hospital in the United Kingdom.
- October 2005 - Mechanical problem with storage tanks at the University of Florida Health Center destroyed sperm that 60 patients had saved before undergoing chemotherapy or deploying overseas.
- March 2008 - University Hospitals Fertility Clinic in Cleveland and Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco experience freezer malfunctions the same weekend, resulting in the loss of more than 5,000 frozen embryos and eggs.
- April 2012 - Freezer malfunction affects 250 patients who lost sperm samples at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
- March 2018 - Class action filed against Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco on behalf of customers who lost embryos or eggs.
Have Other Lawsuits Been Filed?
Yes. In addition to the class action, at least 2 other complaints have been filed alleging lost or damaged embryos/eggs against fertility clinics. The first, filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, names University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center's Fertility Center in Cleveland. The lead plaintiffs, Amber and Elliot Ash, claim they lost both of the frozen embryos they had stored there. A second suit, also entered against the University Hospitals center, was filed by a Pennsylvania couple who allegedly spent 8 years trying to conceive and were in the process of transferring the embryo to the woman.
Class Action Filed by Victims of San Francisco Fertility Clinic
March 16, 2018 - A class action lawsuit was filed this week on behalf of patients of the Pacific Fertility Clinic, according to CBS News. The complaint accuses the company of negligence for failing to maintain adequate equipment or prepare for such an incident. Plaintiffs allege that the defendants didn’t do enough to mitigate risk, and that more protection for the fragile embryos should have been in place.
Do I have a Fertility Clinic Lawsuit?
The Personal Injury Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in fertility clinic lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one received the wrong egg from a fertility clinic, or sperm that came from the wrong donor, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.