Monday, 22 November, 2010
IVF mix-up: Couple decides to keep the baby
The couple in the centre of the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) mix-up case has decided to keep the baby. Their lawyer Mr S. Palaniappan, speaking on their behalf, said that the mother has already bonded with the infant. The baby has a markedly different complexion from that of his mother, a Singaporean Chinese woman, and her husband, a Caucasian Singapore PR. The baby's blood type is B, while those of the couple is A and O. A DNA test has confirmed that the child has the mother's DNA makeup, but not the father's.
Dr Cheng Li Chang, the medical director of Thomson Fertility Centre where the couple had sought IVF treatment, said in a statement that he and his colleagues "fully empathise with the couple, and are very sorry and distressed over what has happened". It was reported that they have met the couple to explain the situation, and will keep them updated and provide them with all possible support. Dr Cheng said the centre's operating procedures "meet all regulatory requirements, and are of the highest international standards".
The Ministry of Health, however, has said that "certain practices" could be improved. While it did not specify these practices, it will be issuing additional directives to correct them in time to come. It is understood that Thomson Fertility Centre is working closely with MOH in investigating the mix-up, and will work with the ministry to implement any action it may recommend.
Meanwhile, fertility doctors have expressed shock over the case, which is the first of its kind in Singapore.
The mix-up does not seem to have shaken the confidence of other couples undergoing IVF treatment here. Patients interviewed said that they would continue with treatment, and that they would keep the child even if a mix-up happened to them as well.