Saturday 27 November 2021

IVF clinic blunders with infected embryos, 16 women may be affected

Photo: Depositphotos

The VU University teaching hospital in Amsterdam has confirmed that it placed embryos possibly infected with a bacteria which causes meningitis in the wombs of 16 women undergoing fertility treatment.

The embryos were infected last week in a lab at the hospital’s ivf clinic. In total, embryos belonging to 31 women came into contact with the Sphingomonas koreensis bacteria. Embryos which have not yet been placed back have been frozen and the hospital has halted all ivf treatment until it is clear where the infection came from.

The bacteria was discovered during the daily checks on the petri dishes where the embryos are placed.

The bacteria is not a danger to healthy people, nor does it pose a large risk to embryos, a spokesman said. ‘We have reported this more as a precaution than because we are concerned something could go wrong,’ embryologist Sebastiaan Mastenbroek told broadcaster NOS.

One woman, identified as Maria by local broadcaster NH Nieuws said she had been told to report to the hospital’s accident and emergency unit if she had stomach problems or developed a temperature.

Marjolein Grömminger of the infertility support group Freya said the news is ‘terrible for all the women involved and their partners’.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.