An Armenian-American couple from California who are biological parents of one of the children said Wednesday that not only was their embryo given to the wrong person, they were given yet another stranger’s baby in its place.
NBC news reports that CHA Fertility Center and members of its staff wrongfully gave at least one embryo belonging to Anni and Ashot Manukyan to a couple living in New York, the Manukyans and their lawyer said Wednesday. Anni Manukyan herself was unsuccessfully impregnated twice and understands now that at least one of those embryos was not hers.
The Manukyans only discovered they had a son after the New York couple, who are Korean American and were expecting two girls, gave birth to two boys who were not of Asian descent. It is unclear who the second baby’s parents are.
Anni and Ashot Manukyan endured a months-long custody battle for their son and have now filed a lawsuit against CHA Fertility for emotional and punitive damages.
“I wasn’t there for his birth, I did not carry him, I did not feel him kick inside of me, I didn’t do the skin to skin, I didn’t breastfeed him,” Anni Manukyan told NBC News. “All of that was just robbed from me because of this company that messed up, you know.”
Anni Manukyan said that the clinic’s chief operating officer called the couple in to take a DNA test in mid-April, two weeks after their son was born, for what they claimed was a quality control test. The next day, they were asked to come in and then told about the mistake with a psychologist in the room.
The Manukyans said they will be eternally grateful for the woman who carried their son and cared for him in the first few weeks of his life, even knowing he was not her own, but that this should never happen to another family again.