26 women may have been fertilized by sperm from a man other than their partner, the Utrecht University Medical Centre (UMC) admitted on Wednesday, AFP reports.
The Dutch clinic cited a “procedural error” between April 2015 and November 2016. “During fertilization, sperm cells from one treatment couple may have ended up with the egg cells of 26 other couples,” the UMC statement reads.
The procedure of in vitro fertilization (IVF) entails retrieving mature eggs from a woman’s ovaries, fertilizing them with sperm from a selected man, and implanting them back in the woman’s uterus.
That means women were not fertilized by the intended father. The mistake was linked to the mode of delivery of the sperm, which proved to allow semen from one delivery to another. Couples now have the option of a DNA test.
From these 26 cases, 13 embryos were frozen and nine women became pregnant and had children. There are four unaccounted cases in this statement. The clinic carries out 700 such procedures a year.