March 5, 2024

After six years, IVF blunder still smoulders

A white woman who unwittingly became a surrogate mother for a black couple has settled for an undisclosed amount with a New York IVF clinic. In 1998, Central Park Medical Services transferred embryos originating with Donna and Richard Fasano into her womb, along with embryos belonging to a black couple, Deborah Perry-Rogers and Robert Rogers. Initially, when Mrs Fasano gave birth to a black boy and a white boy, she did not want to give up the black child, even though his genetic mother, Mrs Perry-Rogers, had failed to become pregnant from her own IVF treatment. After five months she did give him up, but then the black couple reneged on a visitation agreement. Ever since, the case has been in the courts, first over custody arrangements and now over the responsibility of the clinic. A lawsuit brought by the black couple goes to trial in September.

And in the UK, a government investigator has concluded that human error, overwork and poor management led to mixed-race twins being born to a white couple a couple of years ago. Professor Brian Toft, who led the inquiry, also slated the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a “culture of secrecy” and the government for underfunding the HFEA. Although the HFEA says that similar accidents are unlikely to happen, it reported that there still had been 22 “potential events” at IVF clinics in the six months up to March 2004.