Jason and Melissa Diaz both carry mutations that increase the likelihood of developing cancer: Melissa has a BRCA1 mutation associated with breast and ovarian cancers, and Jason has a CDH1 mutation, associated with stomach cancer. The couple opted for IVF in order to have preimplantation genetic testing to avoid passing these risks onto their child. However, after their son was born, they discovered he has the CDH1 mutation.
'We went to HRC Fertility to break the family curse of cancer and early death', said Jason during a press conference. 'Trusting Dr Kolb and HRC turned out to be the biggest mistake of our lives.'
Jason previously developed a rare type of stomach cancer as a result of the mutation and had to have his stomach surgically removed. Their son, now a year old, will likely have to undergo stomach removal surgery as early as 15 years old as he has more than 80 percent chance of developing stomach cancer according to the lawsuit.
The couple approached Dr Bradford Kolb at HRC and created five embryos. Of these, only one carried neither mutation, but that transfer ended in a miscarriage. The couple then asked for a male embryo that carried the BRCA1 mutation but not the CDH1 mutation to be transferred, as BRCA mutations carry less risk for men.
However, apparently, there were no embryos without the CDH1 mutation, but clinic staff allegedly misrepresented the results and transferred an affected embryo. This was not discovered until the couple asked for details of their remaining embryos when considering trying for a second child. A handwritten note on the file said that the embryo that had been used tested positive for the CDH1 mutation. After seeking clarification, the couple say they were presented with an amended report with the handwritten notes removed.
'We went through the difficult and expensive process of IVF so we could spare our children what Jason has had to endure,' said Melissa. 'We still cannot believe that after all we did... our baby has the same genetic mutation we thought we escaped.'
The Diazs and their lawyer have requested a jury trial and are seeking damages for their 'unimaginable mental anguish' and for future lost wages and medical bills.