Parents give birth to each other after confusion at fertility clinic

Two couples spent months raising baby girls who weren’t their own after a confusion at a Los Angeles fertility clinic – which implanted the mothers with each other’s embryos during in vitro fertilization, according to a trial.

Daphna Cardinale has said that she and her husband, Alexander, quickly suspected that the girl she gave birth to in late 2019 was not theirs because she had a darker complexion than them.

“I had a weird kind of gut reaction when she was born. It wasn’t logical. It was just like a gut,” Alexander said at a press conference Monday with his wife announcing the trial. brought in Los Angeles, CBS News reported.

In the delivery room, he expected “a fair-haired child,” like their firstborn, but was surprised to see the little girl “come out with much darker skin,” the lawsuit said. “It was so shocking that Alexander took several steps away from the delivery table, leaning against the wall.”

In a video submitted by Daphna and attorney for Alexander Cardinale, they recount how they gave birth to a different IVF embryo while their eldest daughter holds the child who is not theirs.
Daphna & Alexandre Cardinale

But the parents ignored their doubts because they fell in love with the baby and trusted their doctors, Daphna told reporters.

“I was overwhelmed by feelings of fear, betrayal, anger and grief,” the upset woman said, adding that she suffered trauma when she found out months later that she had worn another woman’s baby and the other woman had her child.

“I have been deprived of the ability to bear my own child. I never had the opportunity to grow up and bond with her during pregnancy, to feel her kick, ”Daphna added. “Instead of breastfeeding my own child, I breastfed and bonded with a child that I then had to give up. “

The Cardinals are seeking a jury trial for damages not specified in their lawsuit, which accuses the California Center for Reproductive Health and its owner, Dr. Eliran Mor, of medical malpractice, breach of contract, negligence and fraud. The couple are also suing a third-party embryology lab for alleged misconduct.

The lawsuit alleges that the FRCC mistakenly implanted the other woman’s embryo into Daphna and transferred her embryo – made from her egg and Alexander’s sperm – into the other woman.

In the November 8 complaint, the Cardinals allege that Mor outsourced the management of their embryo to VitroTech Labs Inc., which had a “sordid history of confusion, mislabelling and / or outright loss of material. genetics of its customers ”. The lab and its parent company, Beverly Sunset Surgical Associates LLC, are also owned by Mor, according to the lawsuit.

After the girls were born a week apart in September 2019, the two couples unintentionally raised the wrong child for nearly three months before DNA tests confirmed the embryos were exchanged, according to the lawsuit.

Daphna and Alexandre Cardinale
Daphna and Alexander Cardinale received the wrong embryo due to a confusion at a fertility clinic and did not realize the baby was not theirs for several months.
Daphna and Alexandre Cardinale via AP

“When I found out she wasn’t mine, I poured more love into her. Maybe I was just hanging on to her. I was so afraid of losing her, which I finally did, ”said Daphna.

The babies were traded in January 2020, but the Cardinals say they suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and feelings of guilt on a daily basis.

“The girl they bonded with was taken from them after months of love and affection, and although they still see her periodically, their biological daughter never warms up with Daphna when they visit,” according to the trial. “In fact, since the change, Daphna and Alexander have watched their newborn daughter go from an incredibly happy newborn to an anxious baby – and they constantly worry and feel guilty that the ‘change’ is to blame… This is one of the most important things that haunts Daphna on a regular basis.

Breaking the news to their eldest daughter, now 7, that the new baby wasn’t actually her sister “was the hardest thing in my life,” said Daphna. “My heart breaks for her, maybe the most,” she added.

Alexander Cardinale holds his biological daughter
Alexander Cardinale with his biological daughter after exchanging babies with the couple who gave birth to him.
Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway

“The Cardinals, including their young daughter, fell in love with this child and were afraid that she would be taken from them,” said the trial.

“During all this time, Alexander and Daphna did not know the whereabouts of their own embryo and were therefore terrified that another woman would be pregnant with their child – and that their child would be in the world somewhere without them.” , he said.

The Post contacted Mor, as well as the California Center for Reproductive Health, but did not receive a response.

Alexander and Daphna Cardinale
Alexander and Daphna Cardinale said that while they loved the newly born child, Daphna felt deprived of bearing her own child.
Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway

The other couple involved in the alleged confusion wish to remain anonymous and plan a similar trial, according to attorney Adam Wolf, who represents the four parents.

The two couples had to sign a gestational carrier contract to formalize the exchange of the babies, according to the lawsuit. They have since made an effort to stay in each other’s lives and “forge a bigger family,” Daphna said.

“They were just as in love with our biological daughter as we were with theirs,” Alexander said.

A photo of the Cardinals' biological daughter
Before reuniting with their biological daughter, the Cardinals received this photo of her from the family that gave birth to her.
Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway

An estimated 1.9 percent of American children are conceived each year through assisted reproduction technology, according to CBS News.

Such confusions like this are extremely rare, but not unprecedented.

In 2019, a couple from Glendale, Calif., Sued another fertility clinic, claiming their embryo was mistakenly implanted into a New York woman, who gave birth to their son as well as a second son belonging to him. to another couple.

Wolf called for more oversight of IVF clinics, saying, “This case highlights an industry in desperate need of federal regulation.”

Alexander said: “We cannot sleep at night knowing that this is happening and no one is talking about it.”

With post wires

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