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Natalia Dueholm Natalia Dueholm

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Mother horrified to learn ‘her’ IVF baby is not related to her after lab mix-up

Natalia Dueholm Natalia Dueholm

WARSAW, February 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Polish family was deliriously happy to have a newborn baby girl – until the mother learned the baby she conceived by in vitro fertilization was not her biological child.

At the beginning of February, the Polish media broke a story about a baby girl born in August 2014 who was conceived via IVF in the Assisted Reproduction Laboratory in the northwestern Polish town of Police. The child was very sick, so genetic testing was ordered, and the mother learned that, genetically speaking, the child is not hers.

Her husband’s sperm had been used to conceive the baby, but not her egg.

The baby is now being treated in the Children's Memorial Health Institute in Warsaw.

The married couple in question were only identified by their first names and their city: Monika and Łukasz from Szczecin.

Monika and Lukasz had tried IVF unsuccessfully twice in a private clinic, then for the third time they went to a public hospital.

After the mistake was revealed last year, the 30-year-old woman filed a lawsuit, but it was dismissed as lacking merit.

After the media broke the story, Andrzej Seremet, the Public Prosecutor General, decided that the justice system should look at the case again.

The hospital to which the laboratory belongs reportedly admitted the mistake but gave no details on the subject.

The biological mother of the baby was not informed, since the hospital did not know her identity.

In Poland in vitro fertilization is not regulated by any law, but the taxpayers pay for it because the Ministry of Health has authorized IVF providers to receive public money.

The Ministry of Health canceled the contract for in vitro procedures with the institution and punished it with a 76,000 zloty ($21,000 U.S.) fine – the maximum allowed by law, which equals 10 percent of the value of the government contract for IVF procedures.

Minister of Health Bartosz Arłukowicz explained that the inspection was launched last October. According to its findings, the error was due to a “technical mistake.” It is still unclear who is responsible for it.

Polish media has described the mix-up as “tragic,” but Dr. Andrzej Lewandowicz told LifeSiteNews, “The true tragedy is the very use of in vitro procedures on people.”

“The dissociation of procreation from marriage, freezing of human beings in liquid nitrogen, eugenic selection and handling them as if they were pieces of pork, is another face of the civilization of death,” he told LifeSiteNews. “The increased risk of medical complications, birth defects and psychiatric disorders after in vitro…are just its inevitable consequences.”

Mistakes during in vitro procedures have been reported in the United States, Great Britain, Japan, India, and Italy.

One of the best-publicized stories of an embryo mix-up was described by two American couples in two books: "Misconception. One Couple’s Journey from Embryo Mix-Up to Miracle Baby" by Paul and Shannon Morell, and "Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn’t Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift" by Carolyn and Sean Savage.

This latest case in Poland illustrates the medical problems of IVF children, as did another widely publicized controversy in 2014. Last year, the Polish media used a very ill baby conceived in IVF to justify a eugenic abortion, which is legal in Poland.

The baby boy was born because Dr. Bogdan Chazan refused both to abort him and to refer his mother to an abortionist. The child was born with birth defects and lived a few weeks. Dr. Chazan lost his job as a hospital director.

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The latest mix-up story was uncovered by Mariusz Parkitny from the local newspaper Głos Szczeciński. “It was one of the best guarded secrets of the Szczecin medical world,” Głos Szczeciński wrote.

Maja Narbutt, a Polish journalist who covered this story for the weekly wSieci told LifeSiteNews that Parkitny was unwilling to share any information, possibly to protect his source. “He declined to explain anything, even whether his information came from the prosecutor or the hospital.”

Since the hospital laboratory where the in vitro procedure took place is a part of the Pomerania Medical University, the story involves the heads of the two institutions. As Narbutt reported, the head of the Assisted Reproduction Laboratory at Police, identified only as Tomasz B. to avoid a potential lawsuit, is no longer director there. Narbutt tried to contact him, but said she doesn’t “even know if he is still in Poland. He has effectively disappeared.”

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