Unsplash | Nyana Stoica

Believe It Or Not, A Woman Gave Birth To The Wrong Baby

You've heard about wife swap, but what about baby swap?

This nightmare came true for two sets of parents after an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic mistakenly implanted the wrong embryos into both mothers.

Since none of the mothers knew, they spent four months raising a child that wasn't biologically theirs...

"It's still a daily struggle," one of the mothers said.

When Daphna and her husband, Alexander Cardinale, gave birth to a baby girl in 2019, they immediately knew something was wrong.

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The baby's complexion was way darker than both of them.

"It was sort of a primal reaction," Alexander told People about his gut feeling.

"It was a little jarring, but I shook it off and cut the umbilical cord," he said.

Unsplash | Omar Lopez

But since they trusted the doctors at the IVF clinic they went to in California, they didn't say anything.

They had also fallen in love with the baby girl that Daphna carried for nine months.

But that gut feeling came back to haunt the couple three months later.

Giphy | A Double Shot At Love With DJ Pauly D and Vinny

This all began when the fertility clinic called a month after Daphna gave birth and asked if they could send a photograph of their baby.

Friends and family also questioned why the baby looked nothing like her parents.

Frustrated and wanting to put an end to speculation, Daphna bought a DNA test.

Unsplash | Mufid Majnun

The results were disturbing. "We got an email that basically said that she was genetically related to neither of us," said Alexander. "That's when our world started falling apart."

They discovered that the fertility clinic where they had gone for IVF mistakenly implanted another couple's embryo into Daphna.

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Meanwhile, the embryo, which was made from Daphna's egg and Alexander's sperm, was implanted into the other woman.

As a result, both sets of parents unknowingly raised the other couple's baby for three months.

The couple was terrified to lose the baby girl that they had grown to love dearly.

Giphy | HuffPost

At the same time, they were scared that their real baby was out there and needed to be found. To find her, the couple hired an attorney to sue the fertility clinic and its owner, Dr. Eliran Mor.

After finding the other couple who had their baby, the four parents and their babies all underwent DNA testing.

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The next day, the Cardinales received an image of their blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter. The other couple called her Zoe, a name that the Candinales kept. "It's weird learning the name of your child when you didn't name her."

As for the other couple, who wish to be nameless, they were equally "blindsided and devastated."

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Even the Cardinale's older daughter, Olivia, was devastated by the news. She begged her parents not to make the baby switch.

To help everyone transition to this big change, the couples decided not to make the baby swap right away.

Instead, they spent weeks visiting with each other nearly every day and exchanging the babies for brief visits.

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But this, too, proved to be a struggle. So after four months of raising each other's children, they decided to make the permanent swap and allow the babies to live with their biological parents.

It's been two years since then.

Unsplash | Jonathan Borba

During that time, the couples, who live 10 minutes from each other, have created a strong bond with one another.

"There's no book for this," Alexander said. "There's no person to give you advice. So we ended up just sort of huddling together, the four of us, and it's a blessing that we all are on the same page."

"We've spent every holiday together since then. We've spent every birthday together since then — and we've just kind of blended the families."

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With the couple's lawsuit against the IVF clinic, hopefully a baby swap like this doesn't have to happen ever again.

H/T: People