Thomson Medical Centre – 339 Thomson Road, Singapore 307677

THOMSON Medical – formerly known as Thomson Medical Centre – was slapped with the maximum $20,000 fine on Tuesday over lapses in its assisted reproduction services.

A representative of the company pleaded guilty on its behalf to failing to comply with directives to ensure that suitable practices were used to carry out such activities.

As a result of the lapses on Jan 23 2010, an IVF mix-up occurred with the birth of a baby born last October, whose DNA did not match its father’s. The court heard that the centre had processed two semen specimens at the same time, and failed to throw away disposable pipettes which are thin suction tubes used in a laboratory for handling small quantities of liquid.

The Ministry of Health suspended the centre’s assisted reproduction services from providing fresh cycles in November 2010. The suspension is under review. Senior Counsel Lok Vi Ming said his client had received numerous awards and accolades over the years.

It was the first private hospital to set up IVF. Over 5,000 couples have been treated and more than 1,000 babies born.

District Judge Sarjit Singh agreed with the prosecution that the maximum fine was appropriate in this case in view of the gravity of the offence, and the irreversible and far-reaching consequences of the breach. ‘A very large degree of care is absolutely necessary in assisted reproduction to ensure confidence among couples who seek such treatment. In this regard, the defendant failed in its duty,’ he said.

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