HomeoldCouple sues for malpractice after IVF doctor aborts “strangers’ embryos” mistakenly implanted...

Couple sues for malpractice after IVF doctor aborts “strangers’ embryos” mistakenly implanted in woman

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David and Melissa Pineda have filed a malpractice suit against Dr. Rifaat Salem, alleging that he used two different techniques to abort when Dr. Salem discovered he had mistakenly implanted “strangers’ embryos” in Mrs. Pineda.

“We went there to have a baby, not to kill a baby,” Mrs. Pineda said. The Pinedas told The Daily Mail “they never would have agreed to an abortion.”

The Daily Mail’s Ashley Collman reports this all began in December 2013 after the couple was unable to conceive a fourth child. They decided to go to Dr. Salem for IVF treatments. The embryos were implanted on February 7.

While Mrs. Pineda was on ordered bed rest, and just two days after the procedure, “she says she got a call from the Torrance, California, fertility doctor telling her to come into the office immediately – even though it was a Sunday.” According to Collman.

When she got to the practice, Mrs. Pineda says she had a disturbing conversation with a nurse who said she came in to check on the couple’s remaining embryos on Saturday and found that all 14 original eggs were still in the petri dish – suggest that they had in fact been implanted with another person’s embryos.

Without any explanation, Dr. Salem said he wanted to check in on how the embryos were doing. But Mrs. Pineda believes she actually underwent a very painful dilation and curettage procedure – a scraping of the cervix which is the most common method used in first term abortions.

Mrs. Pineda was told to come in the next day to receive an injection of a drug that would stop some of her bleeding, but she later found out that what she really received was the drug methotrexate – a chemical abortion drug.

The couple’s lawyer, Neil Howard, told the Daily Mail Salem had not gotten the Pinedas’ consent for either the D&C or the chemical abortifacient. “In a sworn deposition, one of the doctor’s nurses says Mrs. Pineda didn’t sign off on the D&C until after it was performed,” Collman reported.

“There’s no question in my mind that this was a viable healthy pregnancy that he [Dr. Salem] wanted to make sure did not continue,” Howard told the Daily Mail. “That’s why he did two things: a chemical abortion and a surgical abortion. He wanted to be 1billion per cent sure this baby did not go to full term.”

Mr. Pineda said, “We should have a little kid running around now,” adding, “That’s the hard part and what will never be replaced – the moments and the happiness with this child that we wanted and it’s not there now.”

The Pinedas told The Daily Mail they “believe that the couple whose embryos they received should know the truth about what happened. ”

Dr. Salem’s practice did not immediately return calls, the Daily Mail reported.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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