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16 Women File Lawsuit Against Boston Lab

March 1, 2006

BOSTON (AP) _ Sixteen women have sued a laboratory in federal court, claiming its product failed to accurately determine the sex of their embryos as promised.

The women said in the class-action lawsuit that Acu-Gen Biolab in Lowell guaranteed that its $275 Baby Gender Mentor kit and test was 99.9 percent accurate.

But the results turned out to be wrong and the lab failed to honor its money back guarantee, the women said.

``When you’re essentially guaranteeing a test is 99 percent accurate, people rely on you, and you can’t make those sorts of representations and get away with it,″ said Barry Gainey, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting Acu-Gen from falsely marketing the kit and test and ordering it to honor its money-back guarantee. It also seeks restitution for all women who purchased the test.

Calls to officials at Acu-Gen and the test’s marketer, Illinois-based Pregnancystore.com, were not returned Tuesday.

When it first hit the market last summer, the test claimed it could detect tiny bits of fetal DNA in the mother’s blood that could determine a baby’s sex earlier and more accurately than ever before.

Within months, pregnant women reported that ultrasound scans had shown the tests results to be inaccurate.

Acu-Gen and Pregnancystore.com, which is also named in the suit, claimed the test was accurate. But more questions arose as babies were born and proved the test results wrong.

The lawsuit claims the company refused to honor its guarantee, asking women who complained of false results to provide blood samples and fingerprints of their newborns. Even after they complied, only one woman was given a refund, the lawsuit claims.

The women named in the suit are from 10 states across the nation, and more may be added, Gainey said.

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