Pregnant woman told IVF twins are not hers
A pregnant woman was "shocked" to learn that the twins she is carrying thanks to IVF treatment are not her own, following an apparent hospital mix-up.
Italian government inspectors were due to visit the Pertini hospital in Rome yesterday, where the treatment occurred, after the woman underwent a pre-natal check which revealed her unborn children had different DNA to her and her husband.
The woman, who has not been named, underwent IVF treatment on December 4, at the same time as three other women, one of whom had a similar surname to hers, Italian press reported yesterday.
Evening paper 'Corriere della Sera' said their surnames were identical except for three letters.
Staff may have mixed up the embryos ready for insertion, or the women may have even responded to the wrong name when called from the waiting room to undergo treatment, reports suggested.
Michele Ambrosini, a lawyer representing the woman, said she was determined to push on with her pregnancy.
"If she had wanted an abortion she would have already done it," he said.
There has been no word from the real mother of the twins, whose own IVF pregnancy reportedly ended with a miscarriage.
But Italian legal experts said that she would have no chance of claiming custody, since under Italian law, whoever gives birth to children is the legal mother.
"Legal claims will be useless to get the twins back," Lorenzo D'Avack, vice president of Italy's national bioethics committee said.
The case is another blow to the reputation of Italy's medical profession, following the sentence of life imprisonment handed last week to Milan surgeon Paolo Brega Massone, accused of carrying out unnecessary operations – which killed four people – in order to increase his health service earnings.
A new probe published yesterday revealed that the practice of doctors falsifying records to inflate claims, including one case where plastic surgeries were listed as cancerous tumour operations, cost Italy €1bn last year. (© Daily Telegraph, London)