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Invitro fertilization, IVF, is without a doubt a long-term process in which families undergoing treatment invest large amounts of money, as well as stress. IVF is associated with unpleasant side effects, with no guarantee of success at the end. But if you do get pregnant and have a baby through IVF, the journey will definitely have been worth it. Unless, of course, it turns out that you are pregnant with another woman's baby. The other possibility is that another woman becomes pregnant with your baby. IVF embryo mix-ups, though rare, do happen and are a real possibility. How can you stop embryo mix-ups from happening to you?

We have looked into what causes embryo mix-ups, and we have concluded that most of them are tragic mistakes that resulted from human error. In the majority of cases, IVF embryo mix-ups are entirely preventable! If you look through news stories about embryo mix-ups, you will see that a lack of double-checking the labels of the embryos at all stages of the process and especially when implanting embryos into a woman's uterus, are often behind mix-ups. If there are several patients with similar names, that is where the chance of errors with life-long consequences crops up.

For an example of this, take a look at "How likely are embryo mix-ups to happen at your fertility clinic?". Before you choose a fertility clinic, ask questions about what tracking systems are in place for embryos created with invitro fertilization, and what steps are undertaken by the clinic to prevent mix-ups from happening. Also ask them whether they have ever had an embryo mix-up, and if so in what circumstances it came about. When you decide to become a patient of a fertility clinic, also double check if there are any patients at that clinic that share similar names and if there are, ask what your clinic will do to prevent a mix-ups from taking place. Are embryos numbered? Are full names used, instead of just family names, or family names and initials?

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