With more people considering having children at an older age, fertility clinics have become prevalent in society. Along with this, however, is an increase in fertility malpractice claims. This is a unique and developing area of the law that, unfortunately, involves circumstances that may lead to severe damages.
Harm may occur to the child, the mother, the egg and sperm samples, or the embryo. It is also possible that the negligent acts of a fertility clinic may severely impair a couple’s or individual’s ability to have a child.
The attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer represent victims of medical malpractice, including fertility malpractice. We understand the difference it can make when a fertility malpractice attorney advocates for a client.
If you experienced harm due to malpractice on the part of a fertility clinic healthcare professional, then you may have a malpractice claim that could potentially result in a legal award of damages to compensate you for your losses. A Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer attorney can evaluate your potential claim and help you get appropriate compensation for the harm you suffered.
The Importance of Fertility Clinics
Fertility clinics have become essential to many people looking to expand their families who are having difficulty conceiving. The advancements in medical technology offered by these clinics help people who have age-related fertility problems. Fertility clinics also assist people who have trouble with fertility due to an underlying condition apart from age. Additionally, these clinics serve as a place to preserve eggs for women, sperm for men, or an embryo for a potential couple to have children later by IVF or another similar method. Another option that utilizes IVF is the use of surrogate mothers.
Given the rise in popularity, there are more medical professionals participating in the fertility treatment medical field today than in prior years. Many of these healthcare professionals possess the experience that is needed to provide the necessary standard of care owed to fertility treatment patients. However, some do not or are negligent in their duty of care. If this negligence results in failing to provide the standard of care owed to the patient, and the patient suffers harm as a result, there may be a claim of malpractice.
What Are Fertility Treatments?
Fertility treatments are used to assist couples or individuals with having a child using certain drugs, technology or other medical forms of assisted reproduction. These treatments can be especially helpful for infertile couples or individuals having trouble with conceiving a child.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Fertility Treatments?
Fertility treatments involve risks and couples should be aware of this before proceeding with them. Both the mother and the child are exposed to some risks when using fertility treatments to have a baby. There may be harmful impacts during childbirth, which could injure the mother (or the surrogate mother), the baby or both. Additionally, fertility treatments can pose health risks to the mother before and during pregnancy that may also injure her and affect her ability to have children in the future.
Other risks involve the handling of the embryos. Sometimes there is unintentional or negligent destruction of a stored viable embryo. Also, there have been instances of doctors implanting the wrong embryo during IVF treatment.
The most common type of risk that a mother may face from fertility treatments is having multiple births. A mother undergoing fertility treatment has a higher chance of delivering twins, triplets or more. While sometimes this is what people want and for many mothers, being pregnant with multiples doesn’t cause any complications, multiple births can, in some cases, pose a health risk to the mother and the babies.
Other risks to the mother include ectopic pregnancy, in which the embryo implants itself outside of the fallopian tube, and ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, which occurs when there are too many eggs produced due to the intake of fertility treatment drugs.
Although less common than risks associated with the mother, the baby, or babies, born with the assistance of fertility treatments, are also exposed to some risks. These may include genetic disorders, premature births and low birth weights.
Types of Reproductive Technologies
Fertility treatments offered at fertility centers are commonly referred to as assisted reproductive treatments or ART for short. These treatments may include:
- egg donations
- sperm donations
- cytoplasmic transfer or intracytoplasmic sperm injections (ICSI)
- embryo genetic testing
- surgical sperm retrieval
- intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- in vitro fertilization (IVF)
- other advanced technological means used to help couples with having a child
Researchers are continuing to develop new types of reproductive technologies. While they may work for some couples or individuals, these treatments do come with increased risk. This risk is especially significant when it comes to errors by fertility clinics that use a new technology before proper training or a clear understanding of the complications it may involve.
Common Errors Committed by Fertility Clinics
Mistakes can happen at fertility clinics, which may result in substantial harm to a couple or individual hoping to expand their family. Samples may be misplaced, switched or destroyed. Additionally, improper screening procedures may be used during the sperm or egg donation process. Moreover, doctors or other medical personnel may perform assisted reproduction technologies incorrectly, causing injury or congenital disabilities.
In some instances, errors committed by fertility clinics may harm a couple’s ability to have a child entirely. There is also a possibility that errors due to fertility clinics’ negligence may even lead to death in severe circumstances.
Common IVF Errors That Can Result In Serious Harm
In IVF, some common errors can result in serious harm. Examples of common IVF errors include:
- Mishandling of the embryo, sperm, or eggs, which can result in the wrong embryo being implanted or the wrong sperm or eggs being utilized.
- Prescribing the wrong prescription drugs before, during, or after the IVF procedure.
- Mistakes with proper implantation, such as a doctor implanting the embryo in the ovaries instead of the correct spot, the fallopian tubes. This mistake may cause ectopic pregnancy and the potential loss of the child.
There can be serious risks and harm to both the mother and the child with IVF treatments. These risks significantly increase when one of these errors occurs.
A doctor should thoroughly review all potential risks with you and help you understand if you are a suitable candidate for IVF. If you are a good candidate, and you go through the procedure, an error can still lead to serious harm to the mother, couple and child.
Negligence in Fertility Clinics
Since a single fertility treatment usually involves many healthcare personnel in some capacity, there may be many parties that are responsible for harm negligently caused. Medical malpractice in a fertility clinic may be due to the negligent acts of a physician, nurse or other personnel involved in the fertility treatment.
There are laws that govern fertility malpractice, just as there are laws for other forms of medical malpractice. When the negligent actions of a fertility clinic cause you, your child, or a loved one harm, then you may have a claim of medical malpractice and a right to take legal action against the fertility clinic for the damage that they caused.
What Compensation Can Be Recovered in Fertility Malpractice Lawsuits?
If the negligence caused by a fertility clinic or fertility treatment led to reproductive harm or injuries to the mother or child, then there may be grounds to recover compensation through a fertility malpractice lawsuit. If the injuries were severe, then the compensatory damages awarded may be substantial.
When additional medical expenses occur from having to properly treat any injuries sustained as a result of fertility malpractice, these expenses may be reimbursed as part of a legal settlement. There may also be an award to compensate for the harm caused to future reproduction capabilities if the negligence of a fertility clinic caused this harm. Other types of harm may include pain and suffering, and monetary awards for emotional support.
These are only examples of some compensation forms that can potentially be recovered in fertility malpractice lawsuits. The severity of the harm caused, type of procedure or technology utilized, actions that were taken by healthcare personnel involved in the treatment, and other applicable factors, such as the local and state laws, will determine the forms of compensation that you may be able to recover.
What to Do If the Fertility Clinic Was Negligent
If a fertility clinic was negligent and that caused you, your baby or loved one harm, then you may have a medical malpractice claim to compensate you for this damage. Federal, state and local laws offer protection for injuries sustained because of medical malpractice.
If you have concerns or need help with understanding the laws regarding fertility clinics or medical malpractice claims, then you may wish to contact one of the experienced malpractice lawyers at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer.
If you are considering a potential fertility malpractice lawsuit, it is crucial to take steps now as there are statutes of limitations, or time restrictions, for when you must file a claim.
Contact Us Today
At Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer, our attorneys help clients obtain legal compensation for harm caused by fertility medical malpractice. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, please fill out the contact form at www.rayneslaw.com or call our toll-free number at (800) 535-1797. A member of our legal team will get back to you shortly.
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