Another woman may be having our child: Heartbroken couple learn IVF clinic has lost their embryos
The embryos “were like gold dust”, says devastated mother-of-one
A couple seeking to have a child via IVF have been shocked to learn that their precious frozen embryos have gone missing.
Alison Austen-Hennessy and her husband Michael were left reeling after a consultant at the private Chaucer Hospital in Canterbury, Kent, admitted the embryos had been lost.
Shock: Alison Austen-Hennessy with husband Mike, who were devastated to learn their most viable embryos had gone missing from The Chaucer Hospital in Canterbury
What is worse, a note on Mrs Austen-Hennessy”s file suggests they could have been used by another woman.
Mrs Austen-Hennessy said her doctor looked terrified when they arrived for a meeting two weeks ago to discuss having her embryos implanted.
“I was simply told they couldn”t find the embryos and there was no realistic chance they ever would,” the 31-year-old told The People.
“Right then I realised my chances had dramatically reduced. It was devastating and I was physically sick.”
Mrs Austen-Hennessy said her medical file had a post-it note attached saying her embryos had been “thawed”.
“It”s heartbreaking to think another woman may be carrying – or have had – our biological child,” she said.
The couple, who have spent 15,000 on fertility treatment, have lodged a complaint with the hospital which is carrying out an investigation.
They had the embryos frozen after undergoing three rounds of IVF, the last of which led to the birth of their son Roman in 2007.
The couple visited the Chaucer Hospital in Canterbury, pictured, two weeks ago
The Chaucer, run by BMI Healthcare, found two embryos were present in an audit from January 2007, but they had gone by March 2009. However, the couple were not informed of this.
Alison, who is a therapist, had her fallopian tubes removed following an infection at the age of 19. She and Michael had Roman in July 2007 after two failed rounds of IVF.
She had 22 eggs left and decided to donate half of them to another couple trying to conceive.
“The rest were injected with Michael”s sperm and turned into embryos,” she said.
Four were held at the Chaucer hospital – two from 2001 and two from 2006 but the former more viable pair have disappeared.
“The 2001 ones were more valuable, as they were my eggs from when I was 21. They”re like gold dust.” Mrs Austen-Hennessy said.
She added that she felt angry and let down by BMI Healthcare, which has the largest private network of fertility centres in the UK.
A statement from the company read: “Concerns raised by out patients are taken very seriously. We investigate them thoroughly, taking appropriate action where necessary.”