News: IVF baby doesn’t have father’s DNA

This piece of news jolted me.

IVF baby doesn’t have father’s DNA

A Singapore couple have discovered that their baby conceived through in-vitro fetilisation (IVF) is not biologically theirs – the child’s DNA does not match the father’s.

The Straits Times reported that the couple – a Singaporean Chinese woman and her Caucasian permanent resident husband – were first suspicious when they noticed that their newborn baby’s complexion was noticeably different from theirs.

They were told by doctors at Thomson Fertility Centre – where they sought their IVF treatment – that the baby has type B blood, whereas their blood types are O and A.

It is not possible for a baby to have a different blood group from its parents, say doctors. The baby should have either blood type O or A not B.

Raising concerns, the parents and baby then went through a DNA test, which showed that the baby has the mother’s DNA make-up, but not the father’s.

The couple now want answers from the Thomson Fertility Centre and have also sought legal advice.

The Ministry of Health has been notified of the case and is investigating the matter.

The couple have been married for about 10 years and sought fertility treatment at the centre on the advice of their obstetrician.

IVF involves the retrieving of eggs from the wife and fertilising them with sperm from the husband in a laboratory, hence the term test-tube baby, before transferring the eggs back into her uterus.

According to Wikipedia, IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed.

The Straits Times reported that the couple underwent this treatment in January this year. The wife gave birth on Oct 1, about 15 days before the due date, following an emergency caesarian operation.

They were told that the baby had the type B blood, which raised their concerns.

The centre arranged for the couple and the baby to take two DNA tests last month – one from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) here and another from a laboratory in Hong Kong, where results would be known earlier – at the couple’s request.

The Hong Kong tests showed that the DNA make-up of the child contained the DNA material of the mother, but not that of the father.

The result made them believe even further that there was a mix-up during the IVF. The result of the HSA test is pending.

The options being considered include fostering out the child pending a resolution of the case.

There are currently 10 centres offering fertility treatment in Singapore.

 Many questions were swimming in my head:

  1. I’ve always held Singapore’s medical profession in high regard. How the hell did this happen?
  2. This is Thomson Fertility Centre, not some cheap 2-bit clinic in a dark alley. Were there no proper check in place, i.e. ensuring that the correct samples were used?
  3. What happens to the poor innocent baby now?
  4. Is there another baby out there who received the husband’s sample?
  5. With infertility rates on the rise, there will be increasing numbers of couples seeking professional help to conceive. What is the impact of such news on these couples? Will it stop them from trying or will they adopt a “it won’t happen to me ” stance?

This is truly and horribly distressing. And it happened right here in Singapore. Pffffft.


4 thoughts on “News: IVF baby doesn’t have father’s DNA

  1. Don’t you wish eggs and sperm were like chicken eggs? Then you can use a marker and write your initials all over each one.

    Can’t imagine the implications for the parents and the child.

    The way it is reported – time of procedure, parents’ race and all – is a hint to all parents who underwent IVF at Thomson around that time to consider DNA testing. Can’t imagine how that feels. To know or not to know?

    What a major booboo.

  2. it is indeed quite shocking that it’s happening at the a known pediatrics hospital. but i’m not quite sure of how to react about fostering out the baby when it does afterall have the DNA of the mom. fostering out means that the mom is giving up her child, while keeping it means that the dad has to suffer the thought that “this is not what i signed up for!? i expected this to be my child!” if they dont foster out. my partner was saying that, why not just keep the baby and let the dad treat it as if the baby was adopted. but i had to remind him that dont forget the dad spent 9 months and more making plans, taking care of the mother and baby thinking that the baby is his. you cant just expect the dad to treat it as if it’s an adopted baby because the whole thing came as a shock etc. and not to mention he has to find out what happened to his sperm sample. if there’s a baby with another woman’s egg and his sperm, how?

  3. Oh my gosh. This is shocking!! I can’t believe the couple is thinking of fostering out the child?! He/she still has his mother’s DNA make-up and he’s totally innocent! Goodness gracious. What a horrible mess.

  4. Sigh. My heart really goes out to the parents involved. They’re definitely stuck between a hard place and a rock. I can only hope that their marriage is strong enough to weather this terrible storm.

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