Mixed-Up!

A Singaporean couple who conceived their baby via in-vitro fertilisation are reeling from shock to discover that the child's DNA does not match the father's. In-vitro fertilisation is a process whereby the sperm and egg are extracted from the husband and wife respectively.

The couple is shocked and disappointed, and now want answers from the Thomson Fertility Centre and have also sought legal advice. On the 2nd of November, the hospital said that it was unable to discuss or comment on any case. "All our patients' information is treated with strict confidence. It is our policy to respect our patients' privacy and confidentiality," said Ms Patricia Lee, director of corporate development at the Thomas Fertility Centre Limited. The centre also says that it is very sorry and distressed over the sperm mix-up, and pledged to offer all possible support to the affected couple. MOH also says that certain practices in the centre can be improved, and it will be issuing additional directives to correct them, even though this is the first encounter with such a problem in 22 years at the centre, which is rated as one of the best private medical centres here. The hospital has many stringent checks, but human error might still take place.

What will happen to the baby? The couple has already decided to keep it, but they will be individually counselled to identify any potential problems between the couple. I feel that their relatives and friends will ask them questions about why their baby looks different, and their marriage has to be strong enough to withstand all these questions.

As for others that wish to go through IVF treatment at Thomas Fertility Centre, some say that they will not stop their treatment despite of the mix-up. "The service there is very good and professional. They explained the entire process to us during counselling. I don't feel like they wanted to make money from us, but that they really wanted the treatment to be successful for us," Mrs Lim, a customer says.

The man whose semen was used is technically considered as the biological dad of the baby. However, his legal rights are unclear according to today's law. Senior Counsel Deborah Barker of KhatterWong law firm said yesterday that the law ad it stands does not give the man whose sperm was mistakenly used any right to the child: he is in the same position as the father of an illegitimate child. Women's Charter made it a parent's duty to be responsible for the child. In this case, the man whose sperm was mistakenly used is the biological dad of the baby, so can the child or mother file a maintenance claim if they know who the sperm donor is? However, must Thomson Fertility Centre disclose the identity of the donor when the court orders it to?"The law may need to be revised to provide that the maintenance claim cannot be brought against anonymous donors or against biological fathers in situations where an IVF mix-up occurred." says Professor Lee.

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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.