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In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Negligence Lawyers

ivf-negligence lawyerIn Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a medical procedure whereby an egg is fertilized with sperm in a test tube or other artificial environment. Clinicians will then implant a fertilized embryo into the woman attempting to conceive. The procedure remains very common. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “In 2021, 86,146 infants born (or 2.3% of all infants born in the U.S.) were conceived through the use of ART.” Unfortunately, malpractice in IVF clinics remains alarmingly common.

While there is no national database that monitors incidents where embryos were lost, there have been at least 133 lawsuits filed between 2009 and 2019 related to damaged or lost embryos. Over 65% of those lawsuits were related to embryo storage tank failures in Ohio and California. Losing embryos can be absolutely devastating for individuals and couples. For many people, IVF is their only chance at having their own children. If you or someone that you love has been affected by malpractice at a fertility clinic, you may have legal recourse. Our team of IVF negligence attorneys at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. is here for you. You can reach out to our office anytime at (212) 385-4410.

Common Examples of IVF Negligence

There are many different examples of IVF malpractice. Misconduct can occur at every stage of the fertilization process. It can also involve multiple parties, including the companies that manufacture IVF equipment and provide the embryo culture media used to develop blastocysts. What follows below are just a few of the most common examples of misconduct that can occur during in vitro fertilization.

  • Fertility Fraud: During the IVF process, individuals and couples can pick potential sperm donors. But there have been more than 50 doctors in the United States who have been accused of fertility fraud by using their own sperm to impregnate patients without their consent.
  • Storage Tank Failures: Embryos are entirely dependent on the storage tanks that they are held in in order to survive. If these storage tanks fail for any reason, this can lead to the destruction of all the embryos being held.
  • Contaminated Embryo Solution: When a woman’s eggs are fertilized during the IVF process, they need to be stored in a special embryo culture media. If this solution is contaminated or lacks crucial nutrients, it can prevent embryos from developing normally.
  • Mixing Up Embryos: In certain cases, fertility clinics have implanted the wrong embryos into a patient. This can result in lengthy legal battles and enormous emotional distress.
  • Fertility Clinic Errors: Embryos are extremely delicate by their very nature. Any missteps by fertility clinic technicians can result in the destruction of embryos. This might include instances where embryos are stored at unsafe temperatures or are otherwise handled incorrectly.
  • Implantation Errors: During the implantation phase of IVF, some embryos may be inadvertently placed in the woman’s fallopian tubes. This could result in a dangerous ectopic pregnancy.

Starting a family with the aid of IVF can be incredibly stressful, even in the best of circumstances. But these instances of misconduct can turn an otherwise stressful situation into a nightmare. This is particularly true for people when IVF is their only chance at having children. Many couples who have had their embryos destroyed have likened the process to losing their own children.

Liability For IVF Negligence

The medical process for IVF relies on a blend of different medical professionals, technicians, and equipment companies that must all work together. If an embryo is destroyed in a fertility clinic, it is important to determine how this took place. When negligence occurs at IVF clinics, there could be numerous liable parties.

  • Medical Malpractice: Individual doctors, nurses, or lab technicians could be liable for the wrongful actions of their doctors. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or hospital deviates from the applicable standard of care. There is no single standard of care for any health-care field. However, a doctor’s or hospital’s standard of care is met when a doctor or hospital with an equivalent skill set would have followed the same procedures and guidelines under identical circumstances.
  • Embryo Storage Tank Manufactures: The company that manufactured the equipment used in an IVF clinic could also be liable if embryos are harmed or destroyed. Companies have a legal obligation to create products that are reasonably safe. One lawsuit against Chart Industries claims that the storage tank that they developed had a defect that prevented it from accurate temperature monitoring, but they failed to recall their units or warn the public.
  • Fertility Clinic: The fertility clinic where embryos were destroyed could also be held at fault. In general, companies are liable for the wrongful actions of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties. Embryos could easily be destroyed if they are mishandled by fertility clinic employees.
  • Embryo Culture Media Manufactures: Prior to implantation, an embryo must first be developed in a special formulation known as a culture media. If there are any problems with this culture media, it could impair or destroy the embryos that it holds. Even small errors in the culture media could have catastrophic consequences.

It is extremely important that evidence is properly preserved after any instance of embryo loss. At the end of the day, evidence will be used to determine who is at fault. There are very strict rules for how embryos can be handled. They should always be handled by a trained professional. But this does not always happen.

In Vitro Fertilization Clinics and Companies Facing Lawsuits

Despite the fact that millions of individuals and couples use IVF each year, the industry is still very loosely regulated. According to Vox, “The primary consumer protection law governing IVF is the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act of 1992, which requires clinics to report their live birth success rates to the federal government. Around 90 percent of clinics participate, though there is no real legal consequence for those that don’t.” What follows below are just a few of the companies in the IVF industry facing lawsuits.

  • CooperSurgical: Medical equipment manufacturer CooperSurgical faces a number of lawsuits alleging that some of their media culture batches lacked magnesium. The lawsuits come after a recall notice by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the FDA recall, “The firm has become aware of a sudden increase in complaints for three associated lots. Performance issues may lead to impaired embryonic development prior to the blastocyst stage.”
  • Chart Industries Inc: Medical equipment manufacturer Chart Industries Inc was hit with a $15 million jury verdict on behalf of three women and a couple who lost eggs after a malfunction with a liquid nitrogen storage tank. In that case, the jury found that Chart Industries Inc was 90% at fault and the Pacific Fertility Center was 10% at fault.
  • The Mobile Infirmary Medical Center: Two lawsuits have been filed against The Mobile Infirmary Medical Center in Alabama. According to one of the lawsuits, an “eloping patient” was allowed to gain access to the facility and removed a container with embryos from the freezer. No one discovered the incident until the embryos were destroyed.

IVF companies will often do everything in their power to deny liability if embryos are destroyed. In many situations, the consequences of any instance of negligence may not be apparent for many years or even decades. This is particularly true with instances of fertility fraud. Many of the victims were not even aware of what happened until their children took DNA tests. There are numerous reasons why any individual or couple affected by IVF negligence should consider hiring an attorney.

Why You Should Hire An Attorney After IVF Negligence

When facing the complex and difficult challenge of IVF negligence, it is important to determine whether legal action may be necessary. Consulting with an experienced attorney can provide you with clarity on your rights and options. It’s best to seek legal aid early to help make sure that evidence is preserved. There are numerous other reasons why you should consider hiring an attorney if you’ve lost embryos or faced some other instance of IVF malpractice.

  • No Upfront Costs: There are no upfront costs associated with hiring an attorney. They only get paid from the opposing party if they are able to successfully resolve your case.
  • Finding Liable Parties: An attorney can help identify all liable parties after IVF negligence. This might include the IVF clinic and the medical equipment manufacturers that create the machines used during IVF.
  • Investigation: An attorney can conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding any instance of negligence. This could include filing motions to subpoena records when IVF clinics are being uncooperative.
  • Compensation: IVF negligence can lead to profound emotional distress and financial burdens for those affected. An attorney can take the necessary steps to get you fair and just compensation.
  • Court Representation: Most cases settle before going to trial. But if a case does go to trial, an attorney can help ensure that your case is put in the best possible light so that you can win.

Any case involving IVF negligence can be incredibly challenging. They are often very complex and can be costly to litigate. There is a tremendous peace of mind that comes with having a skilled legal advocate fight on your behalf. IVF clinics and their insurers have teams of attorneys fighting on their behalf. A personal injury attorney can help level the playing field and ensure that your interests are always taken into consideration.

Getting Legal Help After (IVF) Negligence

Best Lawyers: Edward Gersowitz, Jeff Korek and Michael Fruhling - PartnersMany individuals and couples try for years to have their own children. For those who turn to IVF, the entire process can be draining, both emotionally and financially. The average cost of just a single IVF cycle can range from $15,000 to $30,000. For many people, losing their embryos due to some error means that they will never have the opportunity to have their own biological children.

The vast majority of IVF accidents involve some amount of human error. These companies have demonstrated time and time again that they will cut corners where they can in order to generate greater profits for themselves. In the meantime, it is ordinary people who have to live with the consequences. If you’ve been impacted by embryo loss or any other instance of IVF negligence, you may have legal recourse. The IVF negligence attorneys at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. are here to help. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney, we may be able to help you. You can contact us anytime at (212) 385-4410.

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