OC Fertility Clinic Sued For Destroying Frozen Embryos, Lawsuit Says

NEWPORT BEACH, CA — Two couples filed lawsuits in Orange County Superior Court Thursday alleging a Newport Beach-based laboratory employee wrongly used toxic chemicals to clean an incubator housing frozen embryos, killing them.

The lawsuits were filed against Ovation Fertility, which is a top 5 fertility clinic with 14 labs in 10 states, including Newport Beach, said attorney Adam Wolf.

The company realized the error after none of the clients who had embryo transfers in January led to successful pregnancies and investigated the cause, according to Wolf. Then the company notified the clients by phone, Wolf said.

“The issue concerns a preventable tragedy at Ovation that destroyed not only my clients’ embryos but dozens of other would-be parents,” Wolf said in a news conference.

Wolf blamed a “lack of oversight” in the IVF industry contributed to the mistake.

“A lab employee wrongly used hydrogen peroxide instead of a sterile solution” to clean the incubator, Wolf said. “Ovation robbed them of the chance to have biologically related children. … To make matters worse, this disaster was completely preventable. … We’ve handled similar cases virtually all over the country. There’s no end in sight to this kind of conduct. We need meaningful regulation throughout the country.”

Ovation officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wolf said he expected more lawsuits to be filed. He urged Ovation customers to call the clinic to see if their frozen embryo was affected.

Wolf added that employees in veterinary clinics receive more stringent “certification or advanced training or continuing education” than at fertility clinics.

The lawsuits allege negligent misrepresentation, fraud, fraudulent concealment, intentional misrepresentation, medical battery, negligent hiring and supervision and negligence, among other claims.

Source: Patch April 18 2024