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CT-based medical device company sued over alleged destruction of embryos

Laboratory researcher injecting fluid into a petri dish with embryos conducting research of genetic material under a microscope.
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iStockphoto / Getty Images
Laboratory researcher injecting fluid into a petri dish with embryos conducting research of genetic material under a microscope.

A public-interest law firm filed additional lawsuits Tuesday against CooperSurgical, a fertility technology company based in Trumbull, Connecticut.

The plaintiffs allege CooperSurgical sold defective solutions, critical in supporting embryonic growth, to fertility clinics across the U.S. and Canada. Plaintiffs say that resulted in the loss of embryos and in one case, a pregnancy, through in vitro fertilization.

“That solution is critical because it's meant to essentially mimic the environment inside a woman's womb and support that healthy embryo development,” Tracey Cowan, the plaintiffs’ attorney at the Clarkson Law Firm, said. “Without the appropriate nutrients, obviously, the embryos cannot develop the way that they're supposed to.”

CooperSurgical said in a statement it issued a recall for the defective batches.

But Cowan said the company has not been transparent about the problem.

“There are still couples out there who have no idea that their cycle was impacted by this,” she said. “We do know that there are at least hundreds, if not thousands, of families across the country who have been impacted by this and had not only their financial situation wiped out, but also their hopes and dreams of parenthood.”

The law firm filed its first lawsuit against CooperSurgical last year.

The current plaintiffs include couples from North Carolina, Florida and Iowa.

Huge companies are buying up market share in the fertility industry and not using the proper quality control when handling eggs used for in vitro fertilization, Cowan said.

“We want to bring attention to this issue … they are handling what is really the most crucial and critical thing that any industry can handle. And that's our future children and our future families,” Cowan said.

Cowan, who specializes in fertility law, said her office plans to file at least a dozen more lawsuits against CooperSurgical in the coming weeks.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.