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Published on April 23, 2024
Orange County IVF Clinic Accused by Couples of Destroying Embryo Viability in Laboratory MishapSource: https://www.cdc.gov/art/key-findings/icsi.html

Nine disillusioned couples have slapped an Orange County IVF clinic with a lawsuit, accusing the clinic of a fatal error that allegedly destroyed their chances of parenthood. Ovation Fertility is in the hot seat after claims surfaced that its Newport Beach lab mistakenly used hydrogen peroxide instead of distilled water in a procedure critical to embryo viability, according to court documents obtained by KTLA.

The lab blunder reportedly occurred in January 2024 when instead of the needed sterile solution, lethal hydrogen peroxide found its way into the mix during the delicate dethawing process pre-implantation. "That hydrogen peroxide killed all of the embryos that were placed in the incubator during that period of time," Adam Wolf, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told ABC7. These dead embryos were then, shockingly, transferred to clueless patients.

The mix-up came to light after fertility doctors flagged an unusual 100% failure rate for the thawed embryos during a typical two-week period, a stark contrast to the expected success rate of over 75%. Following this alarm bell, Ovation allegedly tried to dodge the bullet by tricking patients into signing waivers of legal claims and non-disparagement agreements. This information was revealed in a news release by the couples' lawyers and reported by KTLA.

For Fullerton residents Brooke Berger and Bennett Hardy, it was a double hit, "It was devastating physically and emotionally to learn that after I had endured all the injections, medications, and painful and invasive procedures, it ultimately was for nothing," Berger told KTLA. They are among the plaintiffs who are now seeking justice – and to make sure this kind of error never repeats itself, at Ovation or any fertility clinic.

Not just about lost time, money, or even the physical toll, the lawsuit alleges more personal damages, with Wolf stating, "Ovation robbed them of the chance to have biologically related children." The allegations include medical battery, intentional misrepresentation, and fraudulent concealment as they deal Ovation Fertility a legal and reputational blow. With the lawsuit in motion, the firm representing the aggrieved parties indicated that this suit might trigger more to follow. Ovation Fertility has yet to publicly comment on the allegations.