"I was robbed of the ability to carry my own child."
Imagine finding out that your newborn baby — the one you carried for nine months and then named at birth — wasn't even yours? And that your kid was actually growing up with strangers?
A California couple is taking legal action after giving birth to the wrong baby and discovering that another couple had given birth to their biological child.
The two families have since swapped children so that each is with their biological parents.
One couple is now suing. In a complaint, Daphna and Alexander Cardinale accuse the L.A.-based fertility clinic and its owner of fraud, malpractice, breach of contract and negligence, The Associated Press reports.
"I was robbed of the ability to carry my own child," said Daphna said at a news conference announcing the Cardinales' lawsuit. "I never had the opportunity to grow and bond with her during pregnancy, to feel her kick."
Daphna and her husband, Alexander, say they were immediately suspicious when they saw their newborn because the girl's complexion was darker than either of theirs.
"The Cardinales, including their young daughter, fell in love with this child, and were terrified she would be taken away from them," their complaint says.
"All the while, Alexander and Daphna did not know the whereabouts of their own embryo, and thus were terrified that another woman had been pregnant with their child — and their child was out in the world somewhere without them."
Both couples eventually confirmed the mixup through DNA testing, but by that point, they'd already spent three months raising each others' children.
They swapped babies in January of 2020.
"The long-term consequences of this baby swap continue to haunt their entire family," the Cardinales' lawsuit says.
The second couple also plans to sue, but wants to remain anonymous, according to AP.
The Cardinales say they're working hard to stay in touch with the other couple, and that they're trying to forge a larger family together.
"They were just as much in love with our biological daughter as we were with theirs," Alexander said.
Daphna added that the hardest part of it all was telling her older daughter, 7, about the reason for the swap.
The clinic has not commented on the lawsuit.