Parents are very angry after they have learned about a mistake made by an infertility clinic at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands. The practice has admitted that a problem may mean that a child that they bore was not fathered by the intended man. The University Medical Center recognizes that a technician at their facility was not following standard procedures and probably mixed some sperm samples. The clinic is offering free DNA testing to all of their patients.
What Happened with the Sperm Samples?
The infertility center connected to Utrecht University is a research center, so they use a variety of methods to treat infertility in couples. The accident happened during a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection. During this procedure, a technician uses a pipette to place a single sperm in a woman’s egg.
A nursing supervisor noticed that the technician did not use a clean rubber stopper at the top of the pipette. Therefore, sperm material from someone else may have remained at the top of the pipette until it could potentially drop into the woman’s egg. The technician also did not use a filter in the pipette that would have stopped the sperm from dropping.
Paul Geurts, a spokesman for the hospital, says that the chance of a woman being injected with the wrong sperm is extremely small, but that it is definitely present. The hospital believes that the mistakes affecting 26 women occurred between April 2015 and November 2016. Of those women, 13 people had their sperm frozen, four are currently pregnant, and nine have already given birth.
The hospital will not say if the technician was dismissed or punished. They say that is a personnel manner which they do not discuss with the public.
How do the Parents Feel about Infertility Clinics Mistake?
The hospital contacted all the people involved offering free DNA testing. The hospital says that they are very sorry for the mistake. They also say that the number of procedures done at this Dutch infertility clinic has been drastically reduced.
Patients have mixed feelings about the problem. One patient who spoke with CNN said:
“I was worried at first, yes, because you don’t want to be [told] your baby is not your husband’s. But also happy that UMC is so open about this and not trying to keep this a secret. I can’t imagine how this is like for people that are involved.”
The hospital has not said if the DNA tests have revealed if they have identified any patients that got the wrong sperm.
Doctor Jasper Smeenk speaking on behalf of the Dutch Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that there are about 7,600 similar procedures done at 12 fertility clinics in the Netherlands each year.
He agrees with the observation of Paul Geurts that this is an extremely rare case quickly adding that the industry hopes to keep it that way. He says that intracytoplasmic sperm injection is safe as long as the proper procedures are put in place and strictly followed.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Freya, a healthcare organization working with infertile couples, says that some couples may make the decision that they do not want to know.
A human mistake made at an infertility clinic at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands, may have allowed women to be injected with the sperm from the wrong partner.
The clinic has apologized for the mistake that occurred starting in April 2015 and continued for 19 months. All people involved have been given the option of receiving complementary DNA testing. While some patients may be angry, industry officials stress that the procedure is safe as long as strict protocols are followed.
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