Court orders compensation for botched-up treatment at IVF clinic in Belgium

WION Web Team
Brussels Published: Nov 25, 2021, 11:15 AM(IST)

A doctor injects sperm directly into an egg during an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure at a clinic in Warsaw (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

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In what can be described as a tormenting experience owing to a mix-up at an IVF clinic, a court has directed the hospital in Belgium to compensate a couple for a botched-up treatment. In the case, a judge awarded damages of €27,000 (£23,000) to the mother and €11,000 to the father

In what can be described as a tormenting experience owing to a mix-up at an IVF clinic, a court has directed the hospital in Belgium to compensate a couple for a botched-up treatment.  

The Spanish couple, who already had a son with beta thalassaemia, thought to have a second child, who could act as a donor or ‘saviour’ for their first child as bone marrow transplant can be a potential solution to his genetic disorder.  

So, they approached a fertility clinic at the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussels hospital where doctors used in vitro fertilisation and “pre-implantation diagnosis” to ensure the second child conceived was a suitable donor.  

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But the hospital, which had developed several embryos of which three were healthy and one was suitable as a donor, mistakenly implanted the wrong embryo in the mother.  

The pregnancy then led to the birth of twins and neither of the girls was able to become a donor for their brother.  

At a hospital in Madrid, the couple tried again, and a healthy fourth child, who could be a donor, was born in 2018. The bone marrow transplant, which was much-awaited, is said to have taken place last year.  

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The couple then filed a lawsuit in Brussels. In the case, a judge awarded damages of €27,000 (£23,000) to the mother and €11,000 to the father, for “the shock they suffered after learning that the twins were not suitable as donors” and for the “anxiety and risks generated by a new pregnancy”, as per Flemish newspaper ‘De Standaard’.   

The hospital was also ordered to pay €5,000 to the oldest child for the delay in transplant. The court also awarded €25,000 as the couple material compensation additionally to cover “the impoverishment caused by the presence of a fourth child in the family”.  

(With inputs from agencies) 

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