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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Senior Application Support -Fidessa, Charles River, Oracle, FIX

£50000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Application Support - Fide...

Product Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Product Specialist - (Application...

Technical Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Specialist - (Applicati...

Day In a Page

10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan