Who’s the father? Israeli fertility clinic mixes up samples – 2nd time in a year

The hospital said it would update the Health Ministry and the public when more information becomes available while respecting the family’s privacy.

By World Israel News Staff

For the second time in less than a year, an in-vitro fertilization mistake occurred at Assuta hospital, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

Most recently, an infant boy conceived through IVF at the hospital’s Ramat Hachayal branch in Tel Aviv was found to have no genetic link to his father.

The couple, who performed IVF in 2018, contacted Assuta upon making the discovery after undergoing genetic testing outside of the country, according to the Post. The results indicate that sperm samples must have been mixed up.

The hospital said it would update the Health Ministry and the public when more information becomes available, the article continues, but it would also respect the couple’s request for privacy.

In October, a woman who had undergone fertility treatment at Assuta’s clinic in Rishon Letzion gave birth to a healthy baby girl who was not theirs genetically. The woman conceived after undergoing IVF, but during the third trimester of pregnancy, after an in-vitro procedure to correct a heart defect in the fetus, it was discovered that neither the mother nor her husband had any genetic connection to the baby.

After being informed she was not the biological mother, the woman immediately declared that she nevertheless wanted to keep the baby. The courts decided in her favor.

It is believed that no more than 20-40 couples are likely the genetic parents of the baby. However, anonymous sources from Assuta told Ynet that the potential parents of the baby actually number in the hundreds.

In March, an investigation by an external committee appointed to determine the cause of the mix-up and to recommend guidelines to prevent such mistakes in future pointed to a too-heavy workload, Times of Israel reported at the time.

“The committee believes that the embryologists’ workload is the reason for not following proper procedures and ‘skipping’ over steps within the protocols,” the Health Ministry said.