A Massachusetts couple say they underwent several unsuccessful attempts at in vitro fertilization before learning they were pregnant—with someone else's baby. The couple identified as Jane and John Doe are suing the New York Fertility Institute in the US Southern District Court of New York, claiming they had to abort the female fetus six months into the pregnancy in December as a result, the Washington Post reports. They say testing meant to highlight genetic disorders in the fetus revealed there was no chance that the couple were the biological parents. A fertility specialist at the clinic allegedly blamed an error with the genetic test, despite a second test confirming the initial result.
Fearing a potential custody battle, the couple chose to terminate the pregnancy "days before it would have been illegal to do so," the Post reports. The lawsuit—which names embryologist Michael Femi Obasaju and fertility specialists Khalid Sultan and Majid Fateh—claims the clinic hasn't accounted for Jane Doe's embryos, leaving the couple "to worry about whether their embryos were transferred to another unwitting couple, and whether they have another child or children out in the world whom they have never met." The clinic hasn't commented on the suit, which further claims Sultan tried to explain away the results by suggesting that Jane Doe had a rare condition in which a person carries two sets of DNA.
It's unclear if that condition, mosaicism, has been ruled out. However, Obasaju does have "a history of mistakenly implanting a stranger's embryo into the wrong patient," as the suit notes. In 1999, a state inquiry concluded the embryologist knew that the wrong embryos were implanted into a white patient who ultimately gave birth to a Black son, "but failed to tell anyone at the time or to act to correct his error," as the New York Times reported. A 2020 lawsuit accused the same clinic of failing to properly store and label embryos, per Good Morning America. Viewing the latest allegations "with the utmost concern," the state's health department has opened an investigation into the clinic, a rep tells the New York Post. (Read more in vitro fertilization stories.)