All fertility patients are encouraged to immediately contact their clinics to verify the integrity of their embryos.
On December 14, our firm filed the country’s first lawsuit against CooperSurgical in connection with its recall of defective IVF culture media. Our hopeful clients, eager to start a family, tragically lost 34 developing embryos as a result of CooperSurgical’s negligence. In the weeks since, dozens of concerned families who learned of the tragic death of their embryos have contacted our law firm to learn more and discuss their legal options. Based on the number of people who have reached out and retained us to represent them, it appears that there may be hundreds of affected families across the United States and Canada. Many of those impacted first learned of the issue by reading about our lawsuit and then calling their clinics.
Here’s what we know:
Embryo culture media is a pivotal component in the delicate process of IVF, intended to provide an optimal environment for the development of embryos. In essence, the culture media is the material in the petri dish where eggs are fertilized with sperm and then develop into embryos. This solution is meant to mimic the environment in the womb. It is crucial to supporting healthy development. Even small deviations in pH, nutrients, or the presence of contaminants can harm or destroy the fragile developing embryos.
The CooperSurgical recall resulted after embryologists from across the country sounded the alarm bells. They noticed that vast numbers of embryos were unexpectedly dying or ceasing development, and the common thread tying them all together was the use of CooperSurgical’s culture media.
Instead of immediately notifying the public, CooperSurgical instead issued a “quiet recall” to clinics, not even the fertility patients. According to CooperSurgical, several lots of the culture media did not contain the required amount of magnesium to support the embryos’ normal development.
CooperSurgical could have publicly issued the recall and results of their investigation. Indeed, they had publicly posted several recalls in the past. This would have empowered fertility clients reeling from the unexpected loss of their precious embryos, by letting them know that neither they, nor their eggs, were to blame. But instead, CooperSurgical opted to issue their recall notice only to clinics, evidently without any uniform instruction on how or whether to communicate this information to the impacted families. CooperSurgical prioritized damage control over transparency to the patients who placed their families’ future in CooperSurgical’s hands.
The impact of such a recall and ensuing scheme to bury the truth extends far beyond the immediate financial implications for clinics and individuals. Couples undergoing fertility treatments invest not only substantial financial resources but also their emotional and physical well-being, hoping to realize their dreams of parenthood. The repercussions of a failed IVF cycle caused by defective culture media, and then exacerbated by concealment of the truth, cause profound emotional distress. For many of our clients, this tragedy may have severely limited their chances of becoming parents.
We filed our lawsuit to obtain some justice for our clients. That typically is focused on financial compensation. But in light of CooperSurgical’s decision not to issue a public recall, our law firm is also waging a comprehensive public awareness campaign to notify as many affected families as we can reach.
How you can help:
Take action now. Please share this information with anyone you think may be affected by CooperSurgical’s negligent misconduct. If you’re a fertility patient, don’t assume everything is okay because you haven’t yet received a call from your doctor. Contact your clinic immediately to verify the safety and integrity of your embryos. Time is of the essence when it comes to family planning, and you have a right to know the truth, good or bad. If you learn you are among the many families who have been affected by CooperSurgical’s negligence, then contact us to share your story and learn about your legal options. We’re here to help.