May 28, 2024

IVF parents sue over defective baby

Lawyers expect massive payout after clinic fails to screen for cancer gene

A Melbourne couple who failed to get
the baby they commissioned from a leading IVF clinic are suing for
their son’s medical expenses, the costs of bearing and rearing
a better quality child, and compensation for their emotional pain.
Lawyers say that the case could result in one of the biggest medical
damages payouts in Australia.

The unnamed couple claim that Monash
IVF promised to use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to screen out
a cancer gene carried by the mother. Of eight embryos, six were
discarded as defective and two were cleared for implantation.
However, three months after the birth, they discovered that the child
had the gene. The couple insist that they would have adopted a child
or had none at all, if Monash IVF had not promised to deliver a
disease-free product. Newspaper accounts of the case did not specify
whether the cancer was expected to occur in childhood or in maturity.

Monash IVF is not commenting on the
case, but other prominent IVF centres said that no test is perfect.
Dr Michael Chapman, of IVF Australia, observed that parents who want
pre-implantation genetic diagnosis need two hour-long sessions of
counselling with a genetic counsellor to make sure they understand
the risks. ~, Jan 20; Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 22