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Assisted Reproduction

More Information on New Orleans Lab That Mislabeled Embryos

Apparently the embryologist accused of mislabeling embryos at Ochsner Fertility was not an employee and may not have received his professional certification:

The Ochsner Foundation Fertility Clinic embryologist accused of mislabeling human embryos was never an employee of the clinic, and it’s unclear whether he had proper professional certification.

Ochsner spokeswoman Sarah Falanga referred questions about Vincent Williams’ certification to the American Association of Bioanalysts. The health system contracted with Williams’ company to run the clinic, although Ochsner would not comment on the terms of the deal.“We don’t have anybody by that name certified by our board,” said Mark Birenbaum, the American Association of Bioanalysts administrator, referring to Williams.

And the news gets worse as the FDA may not even allow the use of the embryos – even if genetic testing reveals the biological parents:

The Whitneys, of Lafourche Parish, allege in a Sept. 9 lawsuit that Williams “mislabeled, mishandled, improperly stored, and/or improperly transferred” their embryos, which rendered them “unidentifiable and inviable.”

Heather and Duane Hebert, of St. Charles Parish, allege similar mistakes in a July 30 lawsuit. Attorneys are seeking consolidation of the cases.

Ochsner announced the suspension of the clinic last week and is notifying any patients who might be affected. That could be more than 100, according to a Sept. 25 announcement by CEO Dr. Patrick Quinlan.

A motion Samuels filed Tuesday seeks to ensure that Ochsner does not contact affected clients without legal representation directly. Genetic testing is an option for determining the identities of some embryos, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can be used, according to the Hebert petition. But the petition also claims the Food and Drug Administration will not allow implantation of their embryos because an FDA audit determined that the clinic failed to appropriately screen for sexually transmitted diseases.


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