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
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all