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Assisted fertilisation mix up

Updated: Mar 26

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is aimed at people who are having problems conceiving children through normal means. ART uses scientifically designed procedures to increase the chances of successful pregnancy by bypassing the process of sexual intercourse.

There are several methods that are used in ART, each suited to the different needs and characteristics that may be challenging the pregnancy. In vitro fertilisation, for example, is a procedure which involves taking the ovum and sperm and facilitating the process of fertilisation in the lab, after which the embryo is deposited in the uterus to continue its growth naturally. It is the most popular and the most successful of procedures.

As might be expected, complications have a possibility of arising. As stated before, ART completely goes around the process of sexual intercourse and uses medical intervention to create the embryo. This medical intervention is facilitated by humans and unfortunately is subjected to human error as well.

During assisted fertilisation, it is possible for the egg or sperm or embryo of the applicants to be switched with someone else’s by mistake. While this may not hinder the actual process, it will inadvertently cause confusion later on for the family. If a sample has been mixed, the child will naturally carry characteristics from the inherited genes. Different physical features and different genetic make up. If the parents carry out a parentage test they would find that half of the genes that the child carries are from a stranger.

However, while the chances of this happening are not impossible, they are rare. IVF procedures deals with very small samples, microscopic even, so they are not easy to distinguish with the naked eye. The samples are put into containers which are labelled with the donor’s details, making it the only way to differentiate between samples. The mistake usually occurs either by mislabelling the sample or mixing up the already labelled containers. It can also be that the equipment used for the procedure is not properly cleaned, leaving previous samples to contaminate the new ones.

To avoid risks and prevent any legal battles in the future, it is recommended to carry out thorough research on the facility before engaging in their services. The website may look nice to attract customers, but that does not mean that their services or reputation will be just as good. Check the reviews that other people leave and the accreditation that the facility has to see which lab is the best choice for you.


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