February 22, 2024

American couples sue over faulty embryo culture media

Two Los Angeles couples are suing a company which supplied embryo culture media, CooperSurgical Inc, for failing to recall a toxic solution before it destroyed their developing IVF embryos.

They allege that the company failed to sufficiently test their embryo culture media and recalled some of the product only after the destruction of irreplaceable embryos. Their embryos stopped growing within five days of creation last November.

Adam Wolf, a partner at Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise LLP, said his firm expects to represent hundreds of other people in similar cases, describing it as likely a “global” problem. “This is a disaster,” Wolf said. “People put all of their hopes and their dreams into having viable embryos so they can have children, and this solution killed people’s embryos.”

Each couple’s doctor said that the unusual result was caused by the solution provided by CooperSurgical to help their embryos grow before transfer into the uterus. The couples “are devastated,” the suits say. “They may no longer be able to have children with their genetic material as a result of defendants’ conduct.”

In early December, CooperSurgical issued a recall notice seeking the return of media identified by three lot numbers, according to documents released by the couples’ legal team.

Culture medium is one of the least publicised features of the IVF process. According to the UK’s Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, “Although generally considered to be safe based on past and current experience, uncertainties remain about the effects of embryo culture media. The concentrations of components such as growth factors, amino acids, energy substrates and antibiotics could impact early embryo development and the long-term health of children conceived by assisted reproduction.”