Embryo error mum gives baby back to biological parents

The biological parents of a baby boy born to an American woman who was implanted with the wrong embryo by a fertility clinic have expressed their "eternal gratitude" to her, not just for continuing with the pregnancy, but also for handing the child back to them.

Carolyn Savage, 40, of Toledo, Ohio, was implanted with the embryo in February. Ten days later, doctors told her husband, Sean, that she was pregnant with another couple's child. But where other victims of similar mistakes have aborted the foetus or fought for custody, they decided to have the baby and return it to its biological parents – despite the pregnancy being their last chance to have another child.

The 5lb 3oz boy was born on Thursday, and the Savages, who have a son of 15, offered their "heartfelt congratulations" to his biological parents, Paul and Shannon Morell, who described Mrs Savage as their "guardian angel".

"By God's grace, there was never a moment where we thought we were going to have another baby of our own. This was someone else's child," Mrs Savage said. "We didn't know who it was. But we knew if our child was out there, we'd go to the ends of the earth to get our child back."

The Morells, of Detroit, Michigan, were told of the mix-up a day after the clinic had called Mr Savage, 39, a financial adviser. A few days after that, the Savages told them of their decision to have the child. And, after communicating through their lawyers for three months, the couples met. They have remained in close contact.

"I didn't think she'd want to carry the baby to term. I felt helpless," said Mrs Morell, 39. "How do you thank somebody for what they've done?"

The clinic, which has not been named, has yet to offer either family an explanation for the mistake, although the fact that Mrs Morell's maiden name was Savage has been raised as a possible cause. The families are not thought to be related.

Both have instructed lawyers and hope to settle out of court. The clinic's lawyer, Paul Manion, said: "This has never happened to this practice before, and they are working day and night so that it will never happen again."

Following the birth, the Morells, who have twin two-year-old daughters, said in a statement: "We will be eternally grateful for his guardian angel, Carolyn Savage." The child's name has not been revealed.

Mrs Savage spoke in the days before the birth of the responsibility she felt towards the Morells. She told the Toledo Blade newspaper. "I can't even imagine if something went wrong."

In 2004, a Californian woman was awarded $1m after a clinic not only gave her the wrong embryo but did not admit the mistake until the baby was 10 months old. And in 1998 a white New York woman gave birth to a black couple's baby, sparking a two-year custody battle.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links