Reproductive Negligence Case Study: Deprivation of pregnancy – Stacey & Michael’s story
When they married, Michael and Stacey planned to have two children and hoped very much that they would have one of each. Unfortunately, Stacey suffered from endometriosis which meant that she suffered a great deal of pain during sexual intercourse. It also made conception very difficult. To make matters worse Stacey had a diminishing number of eggs and was very concerned about the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
Michael and Stacey sought a referral to a fertility specialist and undertook in vitro fertilisation. During the first 11 cycles, where viable eggs were harvested they were fertilised with Michael’s sperm. A number of cycles had failed to produce fertilised embryos and where viable embryos had been obtained, implantation had failed. It was an exhausting and emotionally difficult journey for both of them, not to mention expensive. It had the largest psychological impact on Stacey particularly given the increased difficulty in obtaining eggs. The couple had all but given up.
On the twelfth cycle four eggs were harvested and fertilised with Michael’s sperm. All were stored by the IVF clinic and Stacey continued through the cycle in readiness for transfer. The fact that there were four fertilised eggs was very encouraging because it meant that there were further opportunities for transfer. Shortly prior to the planned transfer, the incubator containing the fertilised eggs was switched off accidentally when a pile of cases notes was placed on the bench against the incubator. This action triggered the on/off switch and the embryos were destroyed.
The destruction of the embryos was devastating and marked the end of the couples’ reproductive plans. Both Michael and Stacey suffered psychological disorders affecting every aspect of their lives, including the ability to work. Michael and Stacey threatened proceedings for damages. Fortunately, the fertility clinic admitted their contractual and tortious breaches and resolved the case out of court.
The Law Office of Conrad Curry is passionate in ensuring that couples receive appropriate treatment during all aspects of fertility treatment.
If you have been a victim or suffered loss as a result of medical negligence, call us today to speak to our friendly team.