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Suspected sperm mix-up at Dutch IVF center could affect 26 women

An error inside a medical center lab in the Netherlands could have startling repercussions for 26 families.

The Utrecht University Medical Center said due to a "procedural error" that occurred between April 2015 and November 2016, the eggs of 26 women may have been fertilized by sperm "other than that of the intended father." While the chance of this happening is small, the possibility "could not be excluded."

The center, which conducts 700 procedures a year, uses the Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection technique, when a pipette is used to inject a single sperm directly into a woman's egg. While the pipette was changed every time, the same rubber top was used, and when a lab technician found traces of sperm in the top, the tech alerted the higher ups. A top usually has a filter, but in this case, it did not, the BBC reports. Out of the 26 women, nine have had children and four are pregnant; the remaining women have frozen embryos. The center said doctors are meeting with the affected families, and it will offer DNA tests.