Embryo Mixup Bittersweet for Expecting Parents

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An Ohio mother implanted with the wrong embryo gave birth Thursday, then handed the healthy baby boy over to his parents.

Now, the mix-up of Carolyn Savage's pregnancy is raising concern about embryos and how they are cared for in fertility clinics.

Ten days after 40-year-old Savage found out she was pregnant, she was told the baby growing inside her wasn't hers.

"You just can't believe you're in a situation where this is unfolding," she said.  "It's unreal."

There was a mix-up at the fertility clinic in Toledo, Ohio.  The baby was Shannon Morell's.

"To find out that your child is in another woman, I didn't know if she was going to terminate, if she was going to carry it.  It was terrible," Morell said.

Mix-ups are extremely rare, but those few cases raise questions about the safety and security at fertility clinics.

A separate clinic in New Orleans also recently suspended operations because of a labeling problem.

The hospital is contacting up to 100 couples whose embryos may have been affected.

In the world of treating infertility, experts say the stakes are high and the heartbreak can be tremendous.

"We're in a practice where there is zero tolerance for error," said Dr. Jamie Grifo of the New York University Fertility Center.  "You cannot have an error because it affects so many lives."

As for the recent mix-up in Ohio, Carolyn Savage's decision to carry the baby who wasn't hers to term has earned her the title of "guardian angel" in the Morell family.

"We're going to have to turn away from our loss and focus on the gift we're giving the Morell family," Savage said.

"They have high morals and ethics and they are willing to do what's right," Morell agreed.

The Savages say they never considered terminating the pregnancy and have now hired attorneys to make sure the fertility clinic accepts responsibility.

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