A married couple is suing a Pasadena reproductive center for allegedly failing to preserve embryos the pair had frozen years earlier so they could eventually expand their family.
Alexander Sascha Paladino and Erin Torneo maintain that at age 42, she is unlikely to be able to replace the three frozen embryos allegedly mishandled by the Huntington Reproductive Center.
“Erin and Sascha entrusted defendants with their most precious possession, the fate of future children,” their suit says.
A representative for the clinic did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging negligence and breach of contract.
The clinic either disposed of the viable embryos without permission, preserved them in an embryo straw labeled with another couple’s name or implanted them in another woman, the suit alleges.
The plaintiffs, who are seeking unspecified damages, are both writers. They sought out assisted reproductive technology at HRC because of their inability to have children, their suit states.
Torneo was 34 years old in February 2009, when her eggs were harvested and fertilized with her husband’s sperm through in-vitro fertilization, the suit states.
Three months later, two embryos were implanted in Torneo and she later gave birth to twins. Three other embryos were frozen for future implantation, the suit states.
“Erin and Sascha had peace of mind they had three healthy cryopreserved embryos for future implantation when they were ready to expand their family,” according to the lawsuit.
The couple worked abroad from 2011-13 pursuing their careers. In 2014, they contacted their doctor, who had moved her practice to Pacific Fertility Center, and said they were ready to have additional children, the suit says.
“By this time Erin was 40 years old, which meant any eggs harvested at that time would have a very low chance of resulting in a viable pregnancy,” the suit states.
Torneo went through the difficult pre-implementation process that included hormone therapy, ultrasounds and a simulated transfer, according to her lawsuit.
But when the straw they thought contained the embryos was thawed at Pacific Fertility Center, it was empty with “no sign of any of the three viable embryos,” according to the complaint.
“Erin and Sascha suffered an irreplaceable loss,” according to the suit, which says the alleged mishandling of the embryos has “drastically reduced their chances of having more children.”
The suit also alleges that no more than two embryos should have been placed in a single embryo straw.
—Staff and wire reports