Singapore hospital fined for semen mix-up

Singapore hospital fined for semen mix-up

Whose baby?

The lapse at the fertility unit of Thomson Medical Centre’s during the assisted reproduction treatment of the couple had led to birth of a child who had markedly different complexion from that of the mother, a Chinese Singaporean, and her Caucasian husband, The Straits Times reported.

The centre’s representative pleaded guilty to failing to ensure suitable assisted reproduction practices.

The mix-up happened in January last year, when the centre processed two semen specimens at the same time, prosecution told a Singapore District court.

The centre staff did not dispose of the used pipettes, which are thin suction tubes for handling small quantities of liquids.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Charlene Tay said these practises were neither suitable nor acceptable, based on local and international norms. Tay pleaded the court to send a clear message that professional standards in health-care establishments must be upheld.

“Severe and irreversible consequences have ensued from the lapses,” Tay said, stressing it has resulted in the birth of a child “who is not the genetic child of intended father, but who has a genetic material of an unknown father.”

“This is the blunder that will be likely to haunt the family for life, and will have a long-term psychological impact on them,” the prosecutor said.

Health Ministry has suspended all new assisted reproductive activities at the centre.

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