Embryos in Amsterdam clinic possibly infected by bacteria

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

IVF treatment has unsuspected dangers. A clinic in Amsterdam placed embryos which may have been infected with a bacterium which can cause meningitis in the wombs of 16 women.

The bacterium, Sphingomonas koreensis, was discovered in checks of the Petri dishes where the embryos are placed at the VU University teaching hospital. All IVF treatment has been halted until the clinic identifies the source of the infection.

Normally the bacterium is not dangerous, even to embryos, according to a spokesman for the clinic. “We have reported this more as a precaution than because we are concerned something could go wrong,” embryologist Sebastiaan Mastenbroek told broadcaster NOS.

Marjolein Grömminger, from the infertility support group Freya said the news is “terrible for all the women involved and their partners”.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge    


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