Two families raised not their children for 4 months: the embryos were mixed up in the fertilization clinic
After a nightmare IVF confusion, two mothers give birth to each other's children, reports Today.
Four months after giving birth, Californian families exchanged babies to return them to their legal parents. But the whole process was very difficult.
Alexander and Daphne Cardinale were already the proud parents of a little girl.
But when she kept asking her brother or sister, they decided to do IVF at a clinic recommended by their friend.
On the second try, Daphne Cardinale became pregnant and gave birth to a full-term baby girl.
But when Alexander Cardinale saw a healthy baby on her birthday in September 2019 - with darker skin and dark hair - he knew something was wrong.
“The room got smaller and I was really dizzy… and everything just went numb,” he said. "I stayed in one place for a long time."
For several months, he commented on the child's appearance. And then, in an attempt to allay her husband's fears, Daphne ordered a DNA test.
“The Reproductive Medicine Clinic gave Daphne an embryo belonging to ... strangers,” said their lawyer Alex Wolf.
Daphne Cardinale "was a kind of involuntary and unconscious surrogate for the other couple's child."
Immediately, the couple began to wonder what happened to their embryo. As it turned out, Wolf said, another couple was carrying their biological child.
“They actually changed children,” Wolf said of the clinic.
Another family sent Cardinale a photograph of the baby they gave birth to, who has fair skin and blonde hair.
“I looked at her and realized that I just don’t know her, that I don’t know her at all,” Daphne Cardinale said with tears in her eyes. "So I remember thinking," I don't know you, "it's heartbreaking to think of my own daughter that way."
At first, the Cardinals met with another family who lived nearby almost every day. In the end, it was too difficult for everyone, and they decided that the children should be with their biological parents.
“She was four months old, we missed everything,” Daphne Cardinale said. -We missed the entire neonatal period. We missed the whole pregnancy. "
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She added that her feelings are twofold: on the one hand, it is pleasant to finally return home her biological daughter, but she is devastated, having lost the child whom she raised from the first day.
“I was losing my baby at the same time I was giving birth,” she said.
“This is a truly impossible nightmare. The heart starts to break at the same time: you get a child and at the same time you lose him, ”the woman says.
Perhaps the most difficult thing for Cardinale was explaining the situation of his eldest daughter Olivia, who was 5 years old when the children were born.
Olivia was devastated by the exchange.
“This is still the biggest trauma for me,” said Alexander Cardinale. "It is difficult to explain to a 5-year-old child that the sister with whom they are captured in the photographs and whom she loves is not their sister."
In the months since then, both families have had to work through "difficult family dynamics," Wolf said. They usually see each other twice a month.
On November 8, Cardinale filed a lawsuit against the clinic through which they performed IVF, the California Center for Reproductive Health and the doctor they accuse of irresponsibility, Eliran Mora.
Through the law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway, Cardinale is suing the clinic and Mor for breach of contract, medical negligence.
Wolf says the family is hoping their lawsuit will hold the clinic and Mohr responsible and "shed light on this issue."
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“For there to be public discussion and understanding that these kinds of traumatic events happen,” he said. “We need to get a regulation governing fertility clinics. We want to make sure it doesn't happen again. "
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