Do you remember this story?  In 2009, Carolyn Savage underwent fertility treatments and IVF.  There was a mix-up at the hospital and the wrong fertilized embryo was implanted in her.  I just heard about this and was shocked to discover this could even happen… she became pregnant with another woman’s child!

It’s her reaction and decisions that really amaze me, though.  She chose to give up her baby to the family he is related to by blood.  Yes, legally he is their child.  She went through 9 months of bonding with that little boy inside of her and, after going through the pains of childbirth as well, ultimately had to give him up to someone she didn’t even know.

And she only had 45 minutes with him after he was born.

Just thinking about it hurts me so much, I can’t imagine… what would I do?  From what I’ve read, Carolyn had the choice to end the pregnancy and wouldn’t have to go through all of this.  But that is a very tough decision.  I know I would do the same thing Carolyn did, though…  I believe that you’re carrying a baby from the moment he or she starts growing inside you so I could never have an abortion.  But wow.  All the things you would feel knowing that a mistake had been made by the doctor/nurse/whoever and now you would deal with this for the rest of your life.

And I’m sure it hasn’t been easy for the other family, either.

It really makes me think about the risks of IVF…  I’ve never had an issue with it, but I can’t help but wonder if this has happened before unknowingly.  I’m sure it has.  Not that any mother would care (obviously) – when you give birth to a child you immediately think of it as YOURS.  And rightly so.  But if there was a mix-up…

Well, I keep thinking what happened to Carolyn’s embryo?

Anyway, I know that fertility treatments have made so many mommies’ dreams come true… I don’t think a possible mistake would stop most of us from doing it.  Hopefully this has made the people whose jobs it is to take care of and implant those embryos a whole lot more careful.

My prayers are with Carolyn and her family.  I think it was a very brave and wonderful thing she did!

Carolyn and her husband Sean have written a book called Inconceivable about their experiences.  I haven’t read it but want to.  Has anyone else read it?




15 Responses to What Would You Do If You Were Mistakenly Implanted With Another Woman’s Embryo?

  • This is such a sad story. Medical mistakes happen, and it is just so heartbreaking when they happen like this. I do want to say as an ivf mommy, that most clinics (ours was one of the best in the country) are incredibly vigilant against anything like this happening, and have never had any kind of mixup. One thing they did was to have me write the names on the labels for every sample in my own writing (they had printed on numbers), and I was made to verify them before each step. But even then my husband and I thought about what we would do if this situation happened to us. It is absolutely “inconceivable” as their book title so eloquently states . . . but I think that most people who have tried so long and hard would shudder at the thought of termination. I think this couple are absolute heroes.

  • did she ever have her own? i mean did they try again? wow, i hadn’t heard of this story before now. thanks for sharing!

    • I’m not sure about now but they had kids before I’m pretty sure. A teen and a 3-year-old I think. I’m not sure if they’ll try again, but I do know that they had a surrogate mother carrying their baby but the surrogate lost the baby within a week of Carolyn giving birth. :(

  • I have never heard of this story but I may have done the same as she did, because although bonded with the baby I would want the child to grow up knowing their blood relatives and being raised by the person it was meant to be raised by. Such a shocking, sad story but also happy at the same time. I haven’t heard of the book, but sounds like something I would enjoy reading!

  • oh that’s so sad!

  • Like you, I could never have an abortion. But it would be so difficult to carry a baby and have to give it up right after birth. I just cannot imagine. And how sad that their surrogate miscarried right after that baby was born…talk about pain on top of pain! I bet their book is very interesting.

  • Oh my gosh I can’t even begin to imagine how that would feel. I agree she is very brave to do the right thing and give the baby to the family. I haven’t read her book but it really makes me want to go out and pick it up.

  • Wow, I couldn’t even imagine but I do think I would do what she did. Like you I could NEVER have an abortion.

  • I am not sure i ever bond during pregnancy…so for me, the loss would be in not having the child after, but i didnt bond w/ my girl for weeks after she was born. I felt more in a daze. I guess its each person on how they would feel or attachment. I would also choose to give the baby back

  • Wow, I have not heard of this story, but seen a similar fiction story on TV that was similar and was a tearjerker.

  • This story is very local around here, so I’ve heard it, I really want to read their book as well.. I can’t say what I would or wouldn’t do because not being in that situation it’s hard to know…

  • Wow. I can’t imagine how she felt. You would think that mistakes of this kind wouldn’t happen. You want to believe that staff would be more careful. Just crazy…

  • I think anything implated in MY body becomes MINE. I don’t think anyone should be able to say that that baby wasn’t hers!!! I DO think she did the right thing but I can’t even imagine how hard that would be!!!!!

  • I have to wonder what the courts would have done with this situation if they hadnt decided to relinquish the little guy. Such a selfless thing this couple did to not have this little boy grow up knowing he could have been “torn apart” in court. He had the chance to bond with his parents from birth, at horrible emotional cost to the other parents. Wow…this really puts a spin on the title “birth parents”. AFter having 6 little ones grow within me and the unbelievable bonding that takes place while you are pregnant, I dont know if I could have gone through this without completely falling to pieces. I have to wonder, after reading all the comments…if this mom had NEVER previously given birth to another child/children before if they would have relinquished so easily. I assume the courts would have done DNA testing to make sure and the baby would have been placed with it’s “blood parents” in the end. Such a heartbreaking story. I would totally read their book. I have had family with fertility issues and it does sound scary what COULD happen with human error. I am a very lucky mom and grandma indeed.

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