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White couple, black twins
A WHITE couple have had black twins after a shocking blunder at a British National Health Service fertility clinic.
The mix-up – which involved a black couple who were also trying for a test-tube baby – has sparked a massive medical wrangle.
And it could become the centre of a historic legal battle to decide which parents keep the babies.
The white mum, although horrified by the bungle, wants to keep them – but she may face a challenge from the black couple.
A source at the NHS trust at the centre of the row said last night: "Apart from being a tragedy for the parents involved, it is a major embarrassment for the health service.
"It must be a one in a million chance. The problem now is: Who are the real parents of the twins?"
London newspaper The Sun reported that bosses at the IVF centre had long feared such a blunder.
The clinic source said: "It is something that we have dreaded happening all along and now it has. It is an absolute nightmare for all concerned."
The white couple went to the clinic after years of trying for child. They opted for IVF – as did their fellow patients, the black couple.
The white couple's eggs and sperm were taken and mixed – and they were thrilled when told the woman had been impregnated successfully.
Scans showed twins were on the way. But the couple's joy turned to shock when the tots were born black.
The blunder could have occurred either through the black man's sperm being mixed with the white woman's eggs – or an embryo, or embryos, made from eggs and sperm from the black couple could have been inserted into the white woman.
Neither couple nor the two babies can be identified for legal reasons.
The trust insider told The Sun: "Great steps have been taken to ensure that this sort of thing never happens . . . a lot of wrangling is going on. If it goes to court it could become a test case." Even though the twins are black, the mum wants to keep them. She feels she has bonded with them because of the time they were inside her.
"But obviously it is causing deep embarrassment to the parents as well because gossip could start once the twins start going out and about.If people didn't know, they might wrongly assume the woman had had an affair with a black man." The tragic mix-up could make legal history. A law expert said that depending on which combination of sperm and eggs was used, the black man and/or his wife could claim to be the biological parents.
"In the end, the matter may have to go to the courts to decide what happens next," he said.
He also warned both couples may sue. The test-tube baby procedure is used by 27,000 couples a year in Britain but it is limited on the NHS and many people pay private clinics.
There are tough guidelines aimed at preventing mistakes – but past blunders have occurred.
In 1993 two women had abortions and sued after finding they had been implanted with the wrong embryos.
Two years ago 80 couples were horrified when their frozen embryos vanished from a clinic in Hampshire.
There are only two recorded cases in the world of black babies being wrongly born to white mothers.
In New York a white mum, Donna Fasano, 40, gave birth to had a black son in 1998. An embryo mix-up at a clinic was blamed – but a judge ruled that she had to hand over the infant to his biological parents, a black couple from New Jersey.
A Dutch woman, Wilma Stuart, 40, had twins in 1993 after eight years of IVF. But the darker skin of one son Koen gave rise to suspicion. One son had much darker skin – and DNA tests proved a hospital mistakenly mixed sperm from Wilma's husband with that of a black man.
These are then mixed in a laboratory and the consequent embryo is inserted into the woman to develop.
HOW THE IVF BLUNDER HAPPENED:
THERE are only two ways the shocking IVF twins bungle could have happened.
EITHER the white woman's eggs were mixed with sperm from the black man at the fertility clinic laboratory and the resulting embryo was impregnated into her. In that case, the black man could claim to be the biological father.
OR the black couple's eggs and sperm were mixed as normal in the laboratory – but were then placed inside the white woman. In that case, the black couple could claim to be the biological parents.
-- Cherri (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 08, 2002