Health

Fertility clinic 'used wrong sperm'

  • 8 July 2014
  • From the section Health
IVF

A clinic used sperm from the wrong donor in fertility treatment, a report by the regulator says.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) warned clinics "too many" mistakes were being made.

Its report showed one in every 100 women treated had experienced some form of "adverse incident", although most would not have affected their odds of having a baby.

The regulator has called on clinics to eradicate "avoidable errors".

There were 1,679 adverse incidents in fertility clinics in the UK between 2010 and 2012.

Three of them were in the most serious - or grade-A - category.

In one case a woman was having fertility treatment using donated sperm. She wanted a child who would be genetically related to an elder sibling, but sperm from the wrong donor was used.

No further details have been released to protect the family's anonymity.

A separate grade-A case involved embryos being contaminated, probably with sperm. And in the third incident, sperm were removed from storage too soon.

'Highest quality'

There were 714 grade-B incidents, which include the loss of embryos or equipment malfunctions affecting embryo quality.

There were 815 grade-C errors, such as eggs left unusable or women's ovaries being "over-stimulated" to produce eggs.

HFEA chairwoman Sally Cheshire, said "We are committed to ensuring that clinics provide the safest and highest quality service to their patients.

"These results show that, in the main, clinics are doing a good job of minimising the number of serious errors, and this should be welcomed.

"However, there remain too many grade-C mistakes, such as breaches of confidentiality.

"As patients have often told us, these mistakes may be less serious at first glance but they can still be very upsetting."

"Clinics can and should be eradicating these sorts of avoidable errors, which will go a long way towards reducing patient distress and improving the overall experience of IVF treatment."

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