A Dutch IVF treatment centre has said that 26 women may have been fertilised by sperm cells from the wrong man. The Utrecht University Medical Centre said a “procedural error” between April 2015 and November 2016 was to blame.

Half of the 26 couples who underwent treatment are pregnant or have already had children. They have been informed, the medical centre said. “The UMC’s board regrets that the couples involved had to receive this news,” the centre said in a statement.  The statement said: “During fertilisation, sperm cells from one treatment couple may have ended up with the egg cells of 26 other couples. “Therefore there’s a chance that the egg cells have been fertilised by sperm other than that of the intended father.” Although the chance of that happening was small, the possibility “could not be excluded,” the centre added. In 2012, a Singapore mother sued a clinic after it mixed up her husband’s sperm with that of a stranger. The woman, who was ethnically Chinese, suspected something was wrong when her baby had markedly different skin tone and hair colour from her Caucasian husband.

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