Dr. Meyer, a devoted Quaker, needed a little more time and spiritual consultation, but also made peace, grateful for Noah. “We both decided,” Dr. Prizant said, “to look at having just one child as an opportunity to have more resources to serve many more children through our work.”
A Crack in the Glass
Reading the second letter, which like the first one asked for $500, filled Dr. Meyer with dread. She left a voice mail message at the hospital. Days later, she spoke to a person who turned out to be a clerk in the billing department.
“I am telling you, there are no embryos,” Dr. Meyer said, asking her to contact the lab itself.
For weeks, she waited for a call back. Nothing. She called the clerk again. “I’ve confirmed with the lab, there are two frozen embryos,” the clerk said.
Ms. Meyer was stunned, silent. Then she spoke. “Do you understand how serious this is?” she said.
A few days later, she was driving back from the family cottage in South Kingstown, when Dr. Ruben Alvero, then the director of the fertility center at Women & Infants, called to confirm. “We have two of your embryos,” he said.
She pulled her car to the side of the road.
The embryos, Dr. Alvero said, had been found in a glass vial at the bottom of the tank. The vial has a crack in it, he told her, which meant that the embryos had been exposed, possibly for a decade, to the nitrogen cooling agent. They most likely are not viable, he told her, and apologized.
Dr. Meyer told Dr. Alvero this was too much to take in from the side of the road. A meeting was arranged for December of that year, between Dr. Meyer, her husband, Dr. Alvero and Richard Hackett, who helped to create and manages the I.V.F. lab at Women & Infants. Dr. Frishman, who had been Dr. Meyer’s main doctor and is still on the staff at Women & Infants, did not attend.