Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mistakes that should never happen

It should never have happened that doctors transferred the wrong embryos to Carolyn Savage. I feel terrible for her and for her family and some people may think that Paul and Shannon Morell got a good deal - no pregnancy, healthy baby - but I feel terrible for them too. They missed out on experiencing a pregnancy, on being there and able to feel his first kicks and I bet they've also got some guilt about taking the baby (who is biologically theirs) from Sean and Carolyn Savage - even though the mistake wasn't theirs. I have a lot of respect for Sean & Carolyn who decided to continue the pregnancy - I can think of all the reasons why they "had" to, but I can think of a lot of reasons why they might not want to too. I hope the two families will be able to form some kind of relationship that will give both a sense of peace about what happened.

Dr. Grumbles posted an article about Ochsner Hospital (in New Orleans) that was shut down due to "mishandling of frozen embryos". Some of the embryos are mislabeled or missing. Missing I've heard of before - inexcusable and horrible, but not nearly as scary as mislabeled. I can't imagine the 100 families (or so) who are dealing with this news. When I was going through IVF it occurred to me that there could be a mix up, but then I thought, "I'm putting crazy ideas into my head. That's exactly what these people do - keep the embryos labeled correctly so there are no mistakes - and they know how important it is." One would hope...

These recent events make it even more understandable why some people would choose to have the entire process supervised. For many years, orthodox Jews (particularly ultra-orthodox) have had specially-trained supervisors who watch the process from start to finish, making sure there are no mix-ups. This article discusses the cooperation formed between The Jewish Community Council of Montreal (Vaad Ha’ir) and the McGill Reproductive Centre, located at the Royal Victoria Hospital - they've launched a program that strictly adheres to halachah (Jewish Law) while offering the latest technology, including in vitro fertilization (IVF). I bet more and more people, not only Jews, are going to be interested in this type of supervised IVF in the near future.


Sarah said...

I assumed this was an extremely rare thing so I was stunned when after taking Piper home from the hospital a few people said things like "Aren't you glad/relieved she's white/looks like you/has dad's dimple... You know, so you know she's yours." But it is alarming to hear these cases.

docgrumbles said...


The Ochsner clinic is now closed.