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The lawyer who obtained a $1 million settlement for a woman who was accidentally implanted with another couple’s embryos has filed another suit on behalf of a couple against a fertility clinic housed in the same San Francisco medical building suite. Nancy Hersh, founding partner at San Francisco’s Hersh & Hersh, filed the suit on Monday, claiming that doctors at the Laurel Fertility Clinic used the wrong man’s sperm to fertilize Katharine Aschero’s eggs earlier this year. Aschero and her husband, Rob Aschero, had been trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization. Once the error was discovered, the clinic destroyed the viable embryos without the consent of the Aschero couple. “She believes it was the husband of some other person there, and they used his sperm instead of her husband’s sperm,” Hersh said. “And she also believes one of the reasons they destroyed the embryos without her permission and against her wishes and in violation of the contract is because they didn’t want to have to notify the gentleman whose sperm they had used of the mistake.” The suit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court against the Laurel Fertility Clinic and three of its specialists: Dr. Lee-Chuan Kao, reproductive endocrinologist at the clinic; Dr. Collin Smikle, medical director; and Marlane Angle, in vitro fertilization laboratory director. None of the defendants returned a request for comment left with a clinic receptionist. Laurel Fertility Clinic is located at 1700 California St., in the same suite of offices as Fertility Associates, which became the subject of a high-profile suit nearly one decade ago, Hersh said. In 2004, Hersh obtained $1 million in damages in a medical malpractice case filed on behalf of Susan Buchweitz, who was accidentally implanted with the embryos of another couple. She sued her fertility specialist, Steven L. Katz of Fertility Associates, who allegedly failed to tell her of the mistake until her child was 10 months old. Buchweitz and the couple ultimately ended up in a custody battle over the child. In 2005, the Medical Board of California took away Katz’s medical license. Hersh said that the new suit, which does not raise claims of medical malpractice, alleges breach of contract and common law negligence. It seeks $80,000 in actual damages, plus damages for emotional distress and punitive damages. The suit is the fourth against a fertility clinic that Hersh has filed in recent years. “The overarching problem,” she said, “is a lack of regulation. All these mistakes appear to happen in the laboratory.”

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