After ‘Nightmare’ IVF Mix Up, Two Mothers Give Birth to Each Other’s Babies
Four months after giving birth, the California families swapped babies to return the children to their rightful parents. But the entire process has been devastating.
Nov 9, 2021
By Samantha Kubota
Alexander and Daphna Cardinale were already the proud parents of a young girl. But when she kept asking for a sibling, they decided to do in-vitro fertilization at a clinic their friend recommended.
On their second try, Daphna Cardinale got pregnant and carried a baby girl to term.
But when Alexander Cardinale saw the healthy child on the day of her birth in September 2019 — with darker skin and dark hair — he says he knew something was off.
…For months, he commented on the baby’s appearance. And then, in an attempt to assuage her husband’s fears, Daphna ordered a DNA test.
When they got the results – when the baby was two months old — they were shocked. Neither parent was related to the child.
…“The fertility clinic transferred to Daphna an embryo that belonged to … strangers,” their lawyer, Alex Wolf, told TODAY. Daphna Cardinale “was, in other words, sort of an unwilling and unknowing surrogate for another couple’s baby.”
Immediately, the couple started to wonder what had happened to their embryo. As it turned out, Wolf said, another couple had carried their biological child to term.
“They had effectively done a child swap,” Wolf said of the clinic.
The other family sent the Cardinales a photo of the baby they’d given birth to — who has light skin and blond hair.
…On Monday, the Cardinales filed a lawsuit against the clinic they had done IVF through, the California Center for Reproductive Health, and the doctor they accuse of being responsible, Eliran Mor. Mor and the California Center for Reproductive Health did not respond to TODAY’s request for comment.