LOS ANGELES - A Glendale couple who claim one of their embryos was implanted into the wrong woman, causing their son to be carried and delivered by a complete stranger in New York, announced a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing a Los Angeles clinic of botching their in vitro fertilization procedure.
Anni and Ashot Manukyan said their embryos, and those of two other couples, were mishandled by CHA Fertility Center, causing the embryo of complete strangers to be implanted into Anni's body in 2018, while the Manukyans' were implanted into somebody else.
The IVF procedure failed to result in a pregnancy for the Manukyans, who believed their embryos had been lost. They claim CHA officials contacted them in spring of this year, asking them to come in for what they called a routine cheek-swab DNA test.
According to their lawsuit, however, CHA allegedly wanted the DNA swab to confirm if a baby born to a New York woman actually belonged to the Manukyans.
The New York woman, who is of Korean-American descent and was expecting to give birth to two girls, actually wound up giving birth to two boys in March -- the first indication that a major mix-up had occurred.
According to the Manukyans, one of those boys was actually theirs while the other was from the embryo of yet another couple. After a protracted battle, the Manukyans did not meet or gain custody of their son for six weeks.
"Who wants to meet their child in the lobby of a hotel?" Anni Manukyan said at a Los Angeles news conference. "It was just heartbreaking. It was terrible."
CHA officials could not be reached for immediate comment.
The couple claims they have gotten few answers from CHA about how such a mix-up occurred.
"CHA put three families through a living hell, and our lives will never be the same," Ashot Manukyan said. "We fought to get our boy back, and now we will fight to make sure this never happens again."
Their attorney called the case "one of the worst fertility center tragedies known to date."
"This incredible series of events demonstrates CHA's shocking incompetence," attorney Adam Wolf said. "While I have handled hundreds of cases of fertility-center misconduct, this tragedy at CHA is among the most egregious I have seen. Anni and Ashot put all their faith and trust in CHA. In return, CHA gave Anni and Ashot lies, excuses and heartbreak. We will not rest until this multinational corporation is held accountable."
The New York couple filed a federal lawsuit against CHA in Brooklyn last week.
CNS contributed to this story.