The woman who gave birth to a stranger’s child after a mix-up in sperm samples has sued those she believes are responsible for the tragic bungle.
The 36-year-old mother of two is waging a legal battle against Thomson Medical, Thomson Fertility Clinic, and two embryologists for general and special damages.
According to court documents, the special damages, which include the loss of her earnings and medical expenses will amount to about $750,000. General damages are to be determined by the court.
This landmark in-vitro fertilisation mix-up case is expected to set a precedent here for similar legal battles.
The Straits Times reported that the woman claimed to be in “mental agony” whenever her second child was seen by others to be different from its older sibling, also conceived through IVF.
She also asked the court to factor in that her second child would have to be financially provided for on a level similar to her sibling.
The cost of the child’s upbringing had become a cause of concern after her husband, a senior executive in a car company, did not express that he wanted to be named as the child’s father on its birth certificate.
In a statement to The Straits Times, Thomson Fertility Centre responded that they had "acknowledged the unfortunate incident and accepted its responsibilities in the IVF matter”, adding that they had expressed their sincere apologies and extended assistance, waiving all hospital and doctor’s charges.
“TFC will not deny the clinical error was made, but the real issue is what the reasonable quantum of compensation should be.” It read.
TFC was fined $20,000 last year for failing to ensure suitable practices were followed in the IVF procedure.
Court documents showed that the woman and her husband, who are now in Beijing, noticed “marked differences” in their second child’s skin tone and hair colour after it was born in October 2010.
They later discovered that the baby had a different blood group and further tests showed that there was no paternal link between the child and the woman’s husband.
Court documents filed by the woman’s lawyer, Straits Law’s S. Palaniappan, described the couple as “utterly devastated” and “torn between their love for the newborn on the one hand, and social, legal, and economic implications on the other.”
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