Singapore mother sues clinic over IVF mix-up

SINGAPORE - A Singapore mother is suing a clinic for alleged negligence after it mixed up her husband’s sperm with that of a stranger during in vitro fertilisation, a report said Wednesday.

The ethnic Chinese woman first suspected that something was amiss when her baby, who was born in 2010, had markedly different skin tone and hair colour from her Caucasian husband, the Straits Times newspaper reported.

Thomson Fertility Centre, a Singapore clinic which carried out the IVF procedure, has admitted the error and said it is up now up to the courts to decide on the level of compensation.

The 36-year-old, who cannot be named because the baby girl is a minor, is suing the centre for unspecified damages on grounds that the mix-up has caused her personal trauma, the report said.

She is also suing the centre’s parent company, Thomson Medical Group, and the two embryologists who were involved in her IVF.

According to the report, the woman’s husband has refused to acknowledge the baby girl as his daughter in a move that has financial implications for the mother.

Her suspicions about a mix-up were confirmed after her paediatrician informed her that the baby’s blood type was B while her and her husband’s were groups O and A, a scientific impossibility if they were the two biological parents.

The baby remains in the couple’s care but the Straits Times, citing court documents, reported that the two were “utterly devastated” by the incident.

Thomson Fertility Centre said in a statement emailed to AFP that it “acknowledged the unfortunate incident and accepted its responsibilities in the IVF matter”.

“TFC will not deny the clinical error was made, but the real issue is what the reasonable quantum of compensation should be,” it said.

“We will now leave it in the court’s hands to decide what would be a fair outcome for all parties,” the clinic added.

Thomson Medical Group was slapped with a S$20,000 fine last year for failing to ensure suitable practices were followed during IVF. It placed extra checks on its IVF procedures after the incident.

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