COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - A couple’s dreams of starting a family have been ruined after a fertility nightmare at a Colorado Springs clinic. They’re now suing CNY Fertility Colorado for a tragedy their lawyers say was completely preventable.
Kara Seldin-Howell and her husband Kolton Howell traveled from Washington state in 2021 to become patients at CNY Fertility Colorado. The couple says they spent months undergoing injections, tests, and an egg-retrieval surgery at the clinic.
They had viable embryos and were excited to start their family, but a sequence of events led to them filing a lawsuit on Wednesday against the clinic.
"Last year, my husband, Kolton, and I went through a nightmare that changed our lives forever," said Kara Seldin-Howell. "Over the years, we've seen all the news headlines about fertility clinic disasters, but never in a million years did we think that we would be affected.”
A new lawsuit says just days after a doctor at CNY Fertility Colorado alerted them they had 7 viable embryos, they got a second devastating call.
CNY Fertility’s in-house laboratory professionals are accused of failing to put the required oil medium in the petri dish, causing the embryos to dry out and die.
Attorneys for the Howells allege the doctor told the couple point-blank the clinic was at fault.
"The doctor also told our clients that as a result of this tragedy, CNY Fertility Colorado implemented a new procedure to double-check embryos after procreation to ensure they are safe," said Ashlie Case Sletvold, attorney and partner at the law firm Peiffer Wolf. "But in a lab, that touts its state-of-the-art embryology facility, why was no one double-checking in the first place?"
"No one should have to go through this trauma," said Kolton Howell. "It is inconceivable to me that such a preventable disaster could happen here.”
The couple is now suing for monetary damages -- an amount that will be determined at trial. They also hope this lawsuit could lead to better regulations in the fertility industry.
"Currently, nail salons are subject to tighter state and federal controls than fertility center laboratories," said Adam Wolf, attorney, and partner at Peiffer Wolf. "We are sadly still in the Wild West days of the fertility industry."
KRDO has reached out to CNY Fertility Colorado for comment but has not heard back.
Kara and Kolton say they still have hopes of starting a family, but right now are nervous to invest time, money, and emotions into in vitro fertilization again.