Oldsmar couple sues fertility supplier after 20 embryos destroyed

Video above: Couple sues Connecticut company over 34 defective embryo cultures

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An Oldsmar couple is the latest to file a federal lawsuit over the mass destruction of embryos against a company that allegedly sold contaminated supplies to reproductive clinics.

The couple, only identified in the lawsuit as I.J. and K.L. for privacy reasons, claims CooperSurgical marketed its embryo culture media as “the highest quality” due to rigorous testing. However, the company “failed to adequately monitor their manufacturing system” to refill magnesium on the assembly line when it emptied.

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Magnesium is vital to the development of the embryo.

The couple dreamed of having biological children and used assisted reproductive technology to attempt to have a child, according to the lawsuit.

In November, I.J. had an “egg-retrieval procedure,” which resulted in 20 eggs, which were then fertilized. The retrieval process is intensive and invasive, requiring the woman to take weeks of medication via injection and ultrasound monitoring.

On the third day, all 20 embryos were “developing according to plan,” according to the lawsuit.

On the fifth day, the couple learned none of the 20 embryos made it to the blastocyst stage, according to the lawsuit.

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CooperSurgical didn’t issue a recall for any lots of its embryo culture media until December, after the couple’s embryos were destroyed, according to the lawsuit. CooperSurgical allegedly failed to immediately notify anyone about the recall and knowingly put the culture media into the market, despite the “unacceptable” risk.

The couple’s fertility doctor confirmed that Recalled Embryo Culture Lots media were used and “was almost certainly the cause of the destruction of [the couple’s] precious embryos,” according to the lawsuit. The doctor said the couple should have had “several” viable embryos.

The couple spent a large amount of money on the fertility procedures, which did not result in pregnancy because of CooperSurgical’s actions, according to the lawsuit.

The couple is devastated and has “substantial” emotional and mental distress “due to this preventable tragedy” and “may never fully recover,” the lawsuit states.

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CooperSurgical “continued to manufacture embryo culture media despite the empty magnesium hopper, and as a result, produced embryo culture media that lacked a nutrient critical for embryonic development,” the lawsuit reads.

CooperSurgical is accused of manufacturing defect, design defect, failure to warn, negligence, and unjust enrichment. News Channel 8 has reached out to the company for comment.

The couple is seeking a jury trial and an unspecified amount of damages.

CooperSurgical has also been the subject of other lawsuits over dozens of destroyed embryos, including at least two others this week.

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