A heartbroken woman has launched a multi-million-dollar class action against one of Australia’s leading IVF clinics, saying her chances of falling pregnant have been scuttled after a controversial genetic test labelled her embryos as “abnormal”.
- Ms Bopping decided not to pursue inserting an embryo after test results were “abnormal”
- Her lawyers now say she was the victim of “misleading” behaviour, as she was not told that type of testing could produce false-positives
- Her lawyer believes “this will be one of the largest class actions ever brought against a fertility provider”
Danielle Bopping, of Canberra, has launched a class action in Victoria’s Supreme Court accusing Monash IVF of breaching its duty of care by failing to tell her and others about the pitfalls of non-invasive pre-implantation genetic testing, which was being trumpeted by the fertility specialist.
She has since learned the testing can produce false-positives.
Her lawyer, Michel Margalit, said more than 100 people had already expressed interest in joining the suit and she was expecting up to 1,000.
“Danielle’s in her 40s now and had she known at the time that this technology was … not accurate in the manner she believed, she could have taken a different course,” Ms Margalit said.
“I think that there is a real possibility that many, many people will question whether or not they have lost their ability to have children because of this inaccurate testing.”
If successful, the class action could reap millions of dollars in compensation.
“This will be one of the largest class actions ever brought against a fertility provider,” Ms Margalit said.
“We will be fighting for the rights of these women who have placed their trust in the hands of a medical provider and unknowingly have had devastating consequences.”
‘Every week and month counts’
The class action centres on the way in which Monash IVF conducted genetic testing on embryos to uncover abnormalities.
There are two ways to conduct such testing: the first method is through a biopsy, which involves taking a tissue sample from an embryo, a method that is considered invasive.
The second method is called non-invasive pre-implantation genetic testing and involves collecting DNA from the culture that the embryo has been growing in while in the laboratory.
According to court documents, lawyers alleged that Monash IVF told patients including Ms Bopping that the two tests were “identical” in 95 per cent of cases.
In November 2019, Ms Bopping had the non-invasive testing done on an embryo and was informed that the results were “abnormal”.
As a result, she decided not to pursue inserting the embryo.
Her lawyers now say she was the victim of “false, misleading and deceptive” behaviour because she was not told that the non-invasive type of testing could return a false-positive.
Monash IVF has since suspended the non-invasive testing.
Ms Margalit said the decision her client made that was based on the test results had whittled away crucial time.
She has since been unable to find anyone willing to insert her embryo because it has already been labelled abnormal.
“Every week and month counts when you’re in your 40s,” Ms Margalit said.
“Some people fear that they’ve lost their last chance to produce their own genetically-related children.”
Others, she said, had since made life-altering decisions based on those testing results.
“Other people have gone on to use donor embryos and many women are now questioning their decision to cease treatment. So, there really will be lifelong consequences,” she said.
Monash IVF has been contacted for comment.