Medical Verdicts

Woman implanted with wrong embryo


<court>San Francisco County (Calif) Superior Court</court>

After 2 years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive, a woman in her late forties gave birth to a healthy baby boy as a result of in vitro fertilization.

Following the child’s birth, the patient learned that she had inadvertently received an embryo intended for another couple: The wife in that couple, scheduled for implantation the same day as the plaintiff, was to be fertilized with an embryo consisting of her husband’s sperm and a donor egg. The plaintiff received this embryo.

The defendants did not deny negligence, but maintained that once the error was discovered, they acted in the plaintiff’s best interests.

  • The plaintiff settled for $1 million with the physician and his practice. The case against the scientist who incubated the embryo and his employer was still pending.

The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn ( While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.

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