Couples Accuse IVF Clinic of Negligence, Concealment, and Emotional Distress

In a series of lawsuits filed against Ovation Fertility, an in vitro fertilization (IVF) provider based in Newport Beach, California, eleven couples have accused the clinic of destroying their embryos and proceeding with implantation despite knowing the embryos were not viable. The most recent joint lawsuit, filed on Tuesday by nine couples, alleges that workers at the clinic exposed the embryos to lethal amounts of a caustic agent, such as hydrogen peroxide, before implantation between January 18, 2024, and January 30, 2024. All of the implantations were unsuccessful, leaving the couples devastated and searching for answers.

5 Key Points

  • Eleven couples have filed lawsuits against Ovation Fertility, alleging the clinic implanted nonviable embryos exposed to lethal chemicals.
  • The unsuccessful implantations occurred between January 18, 2024, and January 30, 2024, with a 0% success rate.
  • Ovation Fertility allegedly concealed the incident until questioned by fertility doctors about the abnormally low success rate.
  • The lawsuits accuse Ovation Fertility of negligence, medical battery, concealment, and other charges and seek damages and reforms.
  • The couples have suffered emotional distress, self-blame, and the loss of their chances to conceive using the affected embryos.

The latest lawsuit comes just a week after two other couples filed a similar case, claiming that their embryos were destroyed when a lab employee mistakenly used hydrogen peroxide instead of a sterile solution in an incubator. The growing number of lawsuits against Ovation Fertility has raised alarming questions about the clinic’s practices, protocols, and the emotional toll on the affected couples who had put their trust and hopes in the facility.

Couples Left in the Dark as Clinic Allegedly Conceals Incident

According to the joint lawsuit filed on Tuesday, the nine couples involved initially blamed themselves and their bodies for the failed pregnancies in the weeks following the unsuccessful implantations. Some couples even underwent additional medical procedures to determine the cause of the failure. It wasn’t until late February and early March that Ovation Fertility began to inform their physicians that something had gone wrong in the labs.

The suit alleges that Ovation Fertility only disclosed the incident when several fertility doctors questioned the alarming 0% success rate for the embryos thawed over two weeks, a sharp contrast to the typical 75% success rate. This delay in communication left the couples in the dark, compounding their emotional distress and denying them the opportunity to make informed decisions about their fertility treatments.

Allegations of Incompetence, Corner-Cutting, and Cover-Ups

While Ovation Fertility has characterized the incident as an “isolated” event caused by an “unintended laboratory technician error,” the lawsuits paint a more troubling picture of the clinic’s practices. The couples allege that Ovation Fertility hired inexperienced, unqualified, and untrained employees to maximize profits at the expense of patient care and safety.

The lawsuits also claim that one of Ovation’s embryologists has a history of serious errors, including freezing the wrong embryos, losing embryos during the biopsy process, and conducting biopsies incorrectly, resulting in the harm or degeneration of embryos. Furthermore, the plaintiffs allege that Ovation Fertility sought to conceal these mistakes from patients and fertility physicians and even attempted to pressure patients into signing waivers and non-disparagement agreements.

Plaintiffs Seek Accountability, Compensation, and Change

The eleven couples in the lawsuit against Ovation Fertility seek justice on multiple fronts. They have filed suits alleging negligence, medical battery, concealment, and loss of consortium, among other charges. The plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount in damages and have requested a jury trial to hold the clinic accountable for its actions.

Beyond financial compensation, the couples hope their lawsuits will catalyze change at Ovation Fertility and in the IVF industry. They want to ensure that the clinic implements rigorous protocols and safeguards to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, sparing other families the emotional trauma and loss they have experienced.

Brooke Berger and her husband, Bennett Hardy, are among the nine couples in the latest lawsuit. The incident has left them grappling with a profound sense of betrayal and grief. “I really couldn’t believe it,” Berger said upon learning what had happened to their embryos. Hearing what actually happened was just completely shocking. I mean, I don’t understand how that kind of mistake could be made.”

Despite the setback, Berger and Hardy remain determined to build their family and are currently undergoing ovarian stimulation to retrieve more eggs and create new embryos. However, they are now seeking a doctor who does not work with Ovation Fertility, as their trust in the clinic has been irreparably shattered.

As the lawsuits against Ovation Fertility move forward, the eleven couples at the center of this tragedy are united in their quest for accountability, transparency, and reform. They hope sharing their stories and pursuing legal action can prevent other families from enduring the same heartbreak and ensure that the IVF industry prioritizes patient care and safety.