Lawsuits alleging negligence at Newport Beach location filed against Ovation Fertility

Two lawsuits were filed Thursday in Orange County Superior Court against Tennessee-based Ovation Fertility for the loss of the plaintiffs’ embryos at the company’s Newport Beach location in January, when an employee mistakenly used hydrogen peroxide instead of a sterile solution to clean the incubator that stored them.

That action is alleged to have led to the deaths of those embryos, which were later transferred to the plaintiffs.

The complaints, filed by attorneys Adam Wolf and Melisa Rosadini-Knott, accuse the company of negligence in its hiring and supervision, fraud and concealment, and medical battery in addition to a number of other charges.

The names of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits have been withheld, but they were identified by the attorneys as residents of Orange County. One couple, identified only as A.B. and C.D. in the documents, lost two viable embryos. Another, identified as E.F. and G.H., lost their sole embryo. Both were created in April 2023, though egg retrievals occurred at separate intervals for each couple respectively.

“Ovation Fertility is not by any means a tiny or unsophisticated shop,” Wolf said during an online news conference prior to the filings. “This is a tragedy for dozens of would-be parents. Some of the victims lost all of their remaining embryos and, to them, this is not about lost time or money or physical pain.

“Ovation robbed them of the chance to have biologically related children,” Wolf continued. “To make matters worse, this disaster was completely preventable.”

Efforts to reach Ovation Fertility for comment on the lawsuits did not receive a response by press deadline.

Ovation Fertility was founded in 2015 and has several locations nationwide. The company focuses on in vitro fertilization and also provides diagnostic and donor services, surrogacy programs and fertility storage.

Wolf said he does not believe anyone purposefully doused an incubator with hydrogen peroxide, but the fact remained that it was an error on the part of Ovation Fertility that he believed may have affected “dozens” of its customers.

“We want to be entirely clear, this is not something that affected people at the margins. This killed their embryos. In certain states, those are human beings,” he continued. “But whatever that is, whatever an embryo is to somebody, [the couples] had their hopes and dreams of having a child from that embryo, and that embryo was killed through the excessive amounts of hydrogen peroxide that was placed in this incubator at Ovation’s Newport Beach facility.”

Attorneys are seeking a jury trial in addition to past, present and future non-economic and economic damages to be determined at trial, punitive damages, attorney’s fees; pre- and post-judgment as allowed by law and any other relief deemed proper by a judge, according to documents.

Source: LA Times April 19 2024