Tuesday, September 18, 2007

To sue or not to sue

Australian mom sues doctor because she had twins after fertility treatment

An interesting article, and one that promotes discussion both for and against.

This woman and her partner under went fertility treatment with donor sperm to have a child together. They were specific with their doctor that they only wanted one child. When it came time for transfer of embryos, the doctor had the embryologist transfer two embryos into the woman's uterus. (The writer said 'implanted'. I hate when they don't use the correct terminology.). Both embryos implanted resulting in non-identical twin girls. The couple is devastated, so much to the point where they considered placing one child up for adoption. They are now suing for the estimated costs to raise one of these girls.

Now, there is argument on both sides for this. As I told V. I can understand them being upset because they were clear with their doctor that they only wanted one child. The doctor knowing this should not have transferred two embryos as there is always the change that both will implant resulting in twins. I don't know if they are able to sue, however. When I read that they had considered placing one child up for adoption and obviously changed their mind (can you imagine how that child might feel finding that out later in life), I was astounded. I don't believe they didn't know the doctor was going to transfer two embryos. This is something that is discussed and decided on jointly.

Anyway, what do you think?


Anonymous said...

The doctor should not have transferred two embryos against their wishes.

But the couple were dumbfucks for not considering that 1) that single embryo could have still divided into identical twins (there is a slightly higher rate of this occuring with IVF) and 2) they did have other options during the pregnancy, including selective reduction. Waiting until giving birth and then suing the doctor is very cold and calculated.

Dtrini said...

I, like my DW, understand why the couple may be a bit miffed at this. However, like Ellen, I am suspect of the couple. First, even if the doctor did this on his own, the ultrasound would have shown twins and it could not be hidden since the hospital has to be ready for all children to be born. Second, there was no guarantee that both embryos would take, just like real life we a natural split, so it is nature, not the doctor responsible for the two births. Finally, I am appalled that people going through this major process to have children would be SO indignant about a second child. I would understand if they got quints or something but is this couple so limited in their love that they cannot extend it to a second child? Does one child go to private school and the other to public school as a result? DO they love the first born more than the unwanted second? What are they saying when they bring this to the table as they have? What effect will it have on other couples, and (unfairly or not) specifically gay and lesbian couples, when it comes to making the decision for IVF?

So many questions and as usual, the shortsightedness of the adults will adversely affect the child. DW and I spoke about multiples and different possibilities before we ever stepped into the IVF pool and we agreed that whatever number we were blessed with, we would lovingly accept. We would not transfer any more than we were willing to handle and, with twins in my family tree, we are prepared for the possibility that one or more transferred embryos could split again.

This couple needs a wake up call and while I say they should get something from the doctor IF he did the double transfer on his own accord, I think they should get jack schitt if they knew both had a possibility of taking. Welcome to the unpredictable expanse we call life ladies. Suck it up!

thrice said...

I didn't read the article, but I would imagine that a jury would be hard pressed to award damages on this type of case.

Fertility is no where near exact. Sheesh.

LadyofAvalon56 said...

While I can understand the panic and moments of terror that occur when one discovers that one is pregnant with "unexpected" twins, I cannot imagine suing the doctor because he transferred (note proper terminology ha ha!) two embryos.

As you have stated, there are *always* options. As abhorrent as the thought of selective reduction may be, it is an option.

I would love to read the originating documents in this suite. The only way I can see if getting anywhere is if they stated in a letter to the doctor that under no circumstances was he to transfer more than one embryo at a time and he disregarded that instruction.

Having twins when you're not expecting them is a very scary thing. But you adapt, survive and move on. I remember when I first found out I was having twins I also said (in panic) that we could always give one up for adoption. Did I mean it? No. I knew even as I said it that I didn't mean it, but for a moment, it made things seem...survivable.

Anyway, this has blathered on too long and I don't think I made the point I wanted to. We can discuss this more on Sunday. ;)

Kami said...

Did the RE really transfer two without their consent? My RE requires to sign a document showing how many were transferred.

It makes me wonder if they agreed to two and then changed their mind.

Someone else made a good point that they could have reduced the pregnancy as well. "Let's keep both, but make someone else pay for it."

AND they should just be happy they have children!

Anonymous said...

This is a ridiculous story. They should be thankfull for their blessings.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Anonymous said...

I am in shock. I dont know what to think,except I am a little disgusted by the couple in question. I dont profess to understand why 2 embryos were implanted...perhaps there was a good reason.

In any event...if they wanted a child that bad...and if they felt they could be loving parents...then why not 2 babies? I am spinning from this one i am afraid.


Anonymous said...

They should have had puppy embryos "transferred". That way they could have just dropped the surprise one off at a puppy shelter when they got tired of it.

If that's the way they think - second baby - O NO!! Who's to say the won't get tired of the first baby the same way.

They don't deserve to have any children.