Lawyer to File 7 More Suits Against UCI Over Embryos

The attorney for a couple alleging that doctors at UC Irvine’s fertility clinic gave their embryos to other couples without their permission said Saturday that he would be filing seven lawsuits against the university on behalf of couples making similar allegations.

Theodore S. Wentworth said the allegations in the lawsuits would resemble those made in June by Debbie and John Challender of Newport Beach.

In that suit, which names the university, the fertility center and doctors Ricardo H. Asch, Sergio Stone and Jose P. Balmaceda, the Challenders say doctors took their embryos--Debbie’s eggs fertilized by John’s sperm--and implanted them in another woman who gave birth to twins three years ago.

“Each suit will have a slightly different interior, but basically they all have the same cause of action,” Wentworth said. The plaintiffs “have missing embryos and embryos that were said to be installed but on the operation report there is no installation.”


The doctors have denied the accusations.

The university also is suing the three doctors, accusing them of improper transfers involving 35 women at the Orange clinic and a now-closed affiliate in Garden Grove.

Half a dozen law enforcement and regulatory agencies are investigating the clinic, including the Orange County district attorney’s office, the FBI, the state medical board and the National Institutes of Health.