AP: Ohio couple giving up baby after clinic mix-up

AUTHOR: | POSTED: September 23, 2009 | COMMENTS: None Yet - Post a Comment
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by John Seewer

TOLEDO, Ohio–Carolyn Savage didn’t know what to think, what to say, where to look as the ultrasound wand glided over her belly. It was supposed to be her baby inside. Not someone else’s.

Yet here she was in her doctor’s office with the baby’s biological mother, both brought together by a terrible error at a fertility clinic. A doctor had given Savage the wrong embryo, and now she was carrying the other woman’s child.

“The wand is on my abdomen and the technician’s talking to someone else: `There’s your baby’s nose. There’s your baby’s head,'” she said. “It was surreal.”

Embryo mix-ups at fertility clinics are extremely rare. In those few instances, they’ve degenerated into custody battles, ugly lawsuits and at least one abortion. But not this time. Savage and her husband decided that the right thing – the only thing – to do was to give the baby to the biological parents.

“This was someone else’s child,” she said yesterday.

“We knew if our child was out there, we’d go to the ends of the earth to get our child back.”

Savage, 40, is due to give birth to a boy within the next two weeks via Caesarean section. When it happens, biological parents Paul and Shannon Morell will be nearby, waiting to meet their son.

“How do you thank somebody for what they’ve done?” Shannon Morell said. “I could say thank you a million different ways.”

The Savages say the fertility clinic transferred the wrong frozen embryo to Carolyn’s womb in early February. Ten days later, Sean Savage got a call from a doctor saying his wife was pregnant with someone else’s child.

The doctor told them they could abort, but the couple didn’t consider that an option.

“It wasn’t even something we had to discuss,” said Sean Savage, 39.

The Savages won’t reveal the name of the fertility clinic, saying only that it’s not in Ohio. They have hired lawyers, who say they are working to make sure the clinic will accept full responsibility.

The Morells, who live north of Detroit, learned of the mistake a day after the Savages. Shannon Morell feared the pregnant woman would choose abortion, ending their chance to give their 2-year-old twin girls a sibling.

“I didn’t think she’d want to carry the baby to term,” Shannon said. “I felt helpless.”

A few days passed before they learned that the Savages were not only willing to continue with the pregnancy, but also to hand over the baby without hesitation.

The Morells don’t have a name picked out for their son and aren’t likely to make it public. His mom doesn’t want him to be known as the baby who got switched.

Carolyn Savage said she’ll always think about him, and Shannon Morell plans to send the Savages updates as the baby grows.

“We’ll always have a bond,” she said.

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