A California couple is suing a Los Angeles fertility clinic after their embryo was incorrectly implanted in another woman, who unknowingly gave birth to their son. They are the second couple to sue the facility — the New York couple who carried their son and another couple’s son announced their lawsuit earlier this week.
Anni and Ashot Manukyan say that they “can never forgive” CHA Fertility Center in Los Angeles after the major mix-up, which occurred when they implanted the Manukyan’s embryo and that of an unidentified third couple into a New York woman. The New York woman and her husband, who are Asian-American, believed that they were having twin girls, only to deliver two Caucasian boys.
“They knew the day the babies were born because they had apparently called CHA and told them, okay we’re Asian and these children are white, they’re Caucasian. These children are definitely not ours,” Anni told CBS News.
The babies were born on March 31, and Anni said in a press conference on Wednesday that CHA called her and Ashot 11 to 12 days later to come in for a DNA test. Anni claims that the clinic did not inform her why they needed to get tested until they arrived and learned that they may be the parents of a baby boy across the country. A day later, the clinic confirmed that they had a newborn son.
“She said, ‘Think of it as a good thing. You have a son now.’ And I just lashed out,” Anni said. “What about the woman, you know? What is she going through right now? Thank God we got our child back but she ended up with nothing.”
But it took a month-long legal battle to get through the red tape and take custody of their son. And Anni said that she feels robbed of the experience of carrying her son.
“I wasn’t there for his birth, I did not carry him, I did not feel him kick inside of me,” she told Today. “Nobody should meet their baby in the lobby of a hotel.”
The Manukyans are suing CHA Fertility for medical malpractice and negligence. The clinic has not responded to multiple requests from PEOPLE for comment.
The New York couple, who chose to remain anonymous to limit the “embarrassment and humiliation,” are also suing the clinic for medical malpractice, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, misconduct, breach of contract and other issues.
Ashot said that they want to ensure that CHA is unable to hurt any other families.
“CHA put three families through a living hell, and our lives will never be the same,” he said in a press release. “We fought to get our boy back, and now we will fight to make sure this never happens again.”
Happily, the Manukyans say that their son, named Alec, is doing well.
“He’s amazing,” Anni told Today. “We love him so much. I mean, you know, he’s ours. He’s been ours since day one.”
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