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Russian Baby Mix Up

Imagine how it would feel to be told your two year old son was not biologically yours?  Worse still...that you would have to give him back to his biological mother in exchange for a baby that you have never met?

This was the awful situation facing two Russian mothers recently when after two years of raising the children they thought to be their own; they were forced to 'trade' back their children.

Anna Androsova, a Russian woman who "always knew something wasn’t quite right" made the discovery when her husband could not see any family resemblance and became suspicious about their son, Nikita's parentage.   Anna re-checked the maternity ward ID tag of her brown eyed, dark haired son, which to her horror had a different mothers name on it.   The mother named was Zarema Taisumova, a Chechen woman who had a blue eyed, two year son called Adlan.

Anna Initially Wanted to Keep the Boy

Anna contacted Zarema to inform her of the possible mix-up which Zarema disputed but a Hospital in Mtsensk in central Russia confirmed through DNA tests that the boys had definitely been mixed up shortly after their birth.    Anna Androsova initially wanted to keep the boy she thought of as her own but later agreed with the court and pursued the exchange, eventually the court ordered the mothers to swap back the boys.

Nikita is now re-named Ali and his mother Zarema misses the child she raised from birth.  Adlan has been re-named Nikita.  Even weeks later the families are still in shock and they and the two boys are struggling to adjust to their new family situations. 

The careless nurse responsible for this horrific mix up was sacked from the hospital; their explanation for this mistake was a "lack of staff".

The head Doctor at the hospital, Yelena Prostsevich, said there is little else it can do.

Other Mix Ups

In December 1992 Princess Ann Maternity Hospital in Southampton reunited parents with the right baby after one of the parents noticed the identity tag of their child had the wrong surname on it.   This mistake was realised after just a few short days.

In 2007, in Trebic (Czech Republic), another mix up came to light when ten month old girls were confirmed as being accidently exchanged in hospital.

Also in 2007 a Malaysian couple 'bumped' into their 30 year old biological son in a shopping centre.  The family had always suspected that their son was not the right baby and DNA tests proved that in fact, the children had been mistakenly swapped at birth.

Preventing Baby Mix Ups

In early 2003, a hospital in Madrid introduced a system of barcodes containing new babies' fingerprints in an attempt to prevent mix ups over identification.  When a baby is born, their fingerprints and those of the mother are stored in an electronic barcode band which each would wear on their wrists.  This barcode also includes their names and other information which may be useful should the need to identify a baby arise.

The Royal College of Midwives issued guidelines stating that babies and mothers should be kept together at all times and that labels should be tied on the newborns' ankles. 

Some private hospitals within the UK do take feet prints of newborns and others also include the mother's fingerprints.  The NHS hospitals usually have locked wards but parents have every right to be concerned about the correct identification of their babies as even though these mix ups do not happen very often, they do happen.

As a mother I couldn’t imagine anything worse than bonding with my child only to find out that I had to hand my child over to complete strangers and them be replaced with a different child.  What a dreadful situation for all involved.