FARRAGUT, Tenn. — A California woman said a mix-up at a Los Angeles fertility clinic resulted in her son being born to a woman in New York.
Embryo and fertility experts in East Tennessee have followed the national story and said it's baffling that this kind of mistake could happen if a clinic is following everyday safeguards.
"As a professional in this field, we know that we all have dual signatures on every piece of paper where we have embryos going from one place to another. We have checks and double-checks in place. We have two identifications for each patient, so this kind of thing cannot happen," said Carol Sommerfelt, lab director and embryologist at the National Embryo Donation Center based in Farragut.
Sommerfelt has worked as an embryologist since 1990. She has never worked for a facility that had an embryo mix-up. In cases she has read about during her career, the mistakes were often due to parents with identical names.
"That is why we always have two types of identification, including social security numbers, that you verify with every single step. They are always checked and double-checked by multiple people. There are multiple signatures," said Sommerfelt.
Sommerfelt said mix-ups are extremely rare. Yet, potential parents should not be afraid to ask clinics questions to prove they are reputable and use the correct safeguards.
"IVF laboratories are all certified. We all have to have licenses, inspections, and we're all registered with the FDA. You should be able to ask and see those on the wall," said Sommerfelt. "You need to work with a practitioner you know is honest, that you can feel free to ask any of the practitioners in that clinic anything about their certification and how they make sure that there's no mix-up with any of the embryos."