A couple were left devastated after experts at an IVF clinic destroyed an entire supply of eggs on the same day they were donated.
The shattering news was broken to the couple over the phone on the evening they returned from the clinic in high spirits. They are now calling for urgent action to ensure others do not suffer the sort of heartache they have had to endure.
Their loss is just the latest in a series of errors at IVF Wales, in Cardiff, south Wales. Earlier this month the clinic came under fire for mistakenly destroying sperm donated by cancer patients about to undergo treatment.
News of the eggs mistake only emerged in a report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates IVF centres in the UK. The watchdog's report said it was "extremely concerned" by the errors at the clinic this year.
Chris, 35, and Lorraine, 34, from Barry, south Wales, who do not want to disclose their full identities, have decided to go public as part of their own quest for answers and have also begun legal proceedings with the same goal in mind.
Care worker Lorraine turned to her sister for help after advice, and she agreed to donate eggs herself. They were thrilled in February this year when 10 eggs donated by Lorraine's sister were described by consultants as "of exceptional quality".
But within hours they received a call from IVF Wales telling them of their destruction in what was described as a "mechanical error".
Both Chris and Lorraine, her sister and their parents were summoned to a meeting at the clinic that evening. They then listened in disbelief as they were told a pipette containing all 10 eggs had hit a microscope during a transfer to a dish. All were destroyed in the accident.
IVF expert Guy Forster from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, confirmed that the couple have now begun legal proceedings. He said the couple hoped that by speaking out, regulators would ensure action was taken to prevent others suffering as a result of the clinic's blunders.
Dr Graham Shortland, medical director for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board which hosts IVF Wales, said: "As those involved have instigated legal proceedings against IVF Wales, we are unable to comment in detail on this case. However, we would like to make clear that all clinical incidents are reported robustly, in line with HFEA requirements. Patients are offered support throughout the process, investigations are rigorous and there are systems in place to ensure lessons are learned."