AWKWARD: Two Families Swap Kids After Learning IVF Lab Royally Screwed Up

Written by Wes Walker on November 9, 2021

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It’s the stuff of science-fiction and horror novels. The infant you carried in your womb for 9 months and nursed for another four… is NOT who you think it is.

After going through the IVF process at a Los Angeles lab, proud parents couldn’t help but notice there was something a little bit different about the kid they brought home.

It’s exactly the sort of messy situation that opens up whole new worlds of ethical hypotheticals and questions.

Alexander and Daphna Cardinale (41 and 43 respectively) went through the process of IVF, which successfully brought a healthy little girl into the world. Normally, that would be the end of a happy story. Their story, unfortunately, was about to get far more complicated.

They noticed the child looked nothing like them and, after about seven weeks, they took at-home DNA tests and learned their beloved daughter was someone else’s. Then it came out that another couple had given birth to their daughter a week earlier, both in September 2019.

The two couples have since exchanged babies. But it was a long, nightmarish ordeal that deprived both families of essential bonding time.

“I was overwhelmed by feelings of fear, betrayal, anger and heartbreak,” Daphna Cardinale said during a news conference with her husband announcing the lawsuit, according to The Associated Press. “I was robbed of the ability to carry my own child. I never had the opportunity to grow and bond with her during pregnancy, to feel her kick.”

They were also terrified of losing the child they did have, while not knowing the whereabouts of their biological baby.

“The Cardinales, including their young daughter, fell in love with this child, and were terrified she would be taken away from them,” said the complaint, according to Law and Crime. “All the while, Alexander and Daphna did not know the whereabouts of their own embryo, and thus were terrified that another woman had been pregnant with their child — and their child was out in the world somewhere without them.” —NYDailyNews

The idea of a ‘changeling’ child is a richly-tapped vein of literature. But only in the age of modern science could such a switch have occurred before the pregnancy.

Despite the nightmare scenario that brought these two families together, some good has come of it.

Once they knew the truth, the Cardinales got to see a photo of their daughter for the first time. They learned that the other couple had named her Zoë, and they decided not to change it.

They began having regular visits with the other couple, even switching babies for short periods of time — but that soon became too hard.

In January of 2020, when their daughters were four months old, the couples swapped them for good.

While the ordeal was difficult on everyone, the two families have ‘blended’ together, and now spend holidays and birthdays together.

But the Cardinales are still aiming to hold the clinic responsible, and are suing the Los Angeles-based California Center for Reproductive Health, and Dr. Eliran Mor, for medical malpractice, negligence, and fraud. — DailyMail