IVF patients suing over inaccurate genetic tests find out some of their embryos were not discarded – ABC News

Posted: July 6, 2021 at 1:51 am

Some people involved in a class action against two fertility services over the use of a non-invasive test which may have incorrectly classifiedembryos as abnormalhave been told their embryos are still being stored.

The lawyer representing about 200 affected parties in Victoria's Supreme Court saidthe mistake hadresulted in some women choosing to beimplanted with another person's embryo, while others have lost precious months of fertility.

The class action launched lastDecember alleges Melbourne-based Monash IVF and Adelaide-based Repromed breachedtheir duty of care by failing to tell patients about the pitfalls of a type of testing that does not require a biopsy.

There are two ways to conduct such testing: the first method is through a biopsy, which involves taking a tissue sample from an embryo, a method that is considered invasive.

The second method is called non-invasive pre-implantation genetic testing and involves collecting DNA from the culture that the embryo has been growing in while in the laboratory.

The inaccuracy of the test used by the two services between May 2019 and October 2020 was discovered last October.

Patients were informed of the issue after manyhad already made the choice to donatethe embryos to science or destroy them.

Lawyer Michel Margalit said some clients had discovered last week that some oftheir embryos were still in storage.

Supplied

Those that had been donated could still be retrieved, but the others were lost forever.

"They acted on the advice that their embryos were abnormal or had been destroyed," Ms Margalit said.

"Some people obtained donor embryos and are now pregnant with children that aren't necessarily genetically related to them, or that had a whole host of other treatments, so it's a very painful time for our clients."

She said they were not told about the pitfalls of the experimental testing regime.

"In this case, there was an alternative a reliable test, a biopsy method and women were steered away from that method, to this non-invasive method and they just didn't know the mess they were walking into," she said.

Monash IVF and Repromed have now stopped using non-invasive pre-implantation genetic testing.

Repromed medical directorProfessor Kelton Tremellen said the test turned out to be not as accurate as the company had hoped.

He said some of the embryos that could now be used might still be abnormal.

Supplied: Repromed

"What we're trying to do is say, look, unfortunately, we've now recognised that the test is not as accurate as it was originally portrayed to us and that we want to give these individuals the opportunity to make a decision nowwhat they want to do with those embryos," he told ABC Radio Adelaide.

"Some people will say 'I simply don't want to use them, we've moved on'.

"Others will say, 'look, we'll accept the risk and transfer them and effectively consider them to be embryos that haven't been tested at all'."

He said he and other scientists had "lost sleep" worrying about the effect on patients.

"Rather than hide this stuff from patients, our staff have contacted them saying, 'look, those embryos are still in storage, we've now found out this test is not as accurate as we'd hoped, what would you like to do with them?'" he said.

"Rather than sweeping it under the carpet, we're trying to be open and socially responsible by having full disclosure."

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IVF patients suing over inaccurate genetic tests find out some of their embryos were not discarded - ABC News

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