Po Leung, a 44-year-old investment advisor, is suing the Markham Fertility Centre in Ontario, Canada for $400,000 in damages because she miscarried after her partner, Stuart Westcott, ran off with the fertility clinic’s nurse, Wendy Shanks.

Leung had spent three years and $60,000 to achieve her goal of conception, Leung’s lawyer Lisa Corrente told The Toronto Sun, which also reports that Leung left a lucrative job downtown to set up an office near the clinic.

“She took a step backward in her career,” her lawsuit alleges. “I moved to Markham to eliminate commuting stress as the key to fertility is to have less stress in your life. This was my last chance,” Leung told The Toronto Sun.

Another claim alleged by the lawsuit is that both the facility’s director Dr. Colette Pyselman and Shanks told Leung that “women who receive fertility treatments … must not be exposed to any stress or psychological hardship ... to be successful.”

The lawsuit, which seeks damages for breach of duty, negligence, and infliction of mental distress, alleges Shanks “abused her position of power, trust and influence as her medical care provider.” Shanks had been treating the couple for several years while having an affair with Westcott.

Insult To Injury

Leung told The Daily Mirror that Shanks had been her main contact at the clinic. “She portrayed herself as happily married with two kids,” Leung said. “Shanks told me, ‘Both my kids are from fertility treatments. I know how hard it is. Don’t give up.’”

Though Shanks, the Markham Fertility Centre, and Pyselman are named in the lawsuit, Westcott — who informed Leung of his affair the day after she became pregnant — is not. This ill-timed ‘news’ from her common-law spouse was the reason, Leung believes, she miscarried 14 days later.

What's more, Westcott's relationship with Shanks was founded upon the record of her treatment at the clinic. “Shanks intentionally used Po’s private medical treatment and information as an excuse to repeatedly contact Stuart and foster an intimate relationship with him, without Po’s knowledge or permission,” the lawsuit alleges. The Markham Fertility Centre website claims, "We will protect the personal information that we gather."

After Leung complained to Pyselman about Shanks’ conduct, the director took no disciplinary action against his employee. Instead, Pyselman tried to “warn, protect and defend Shanks and the reputation of the clinic,” the lawsuit alleges, by relaying confidential information to Shanks.

“Shanks’ conduct was intentional, malicious and done ... (knowing it would cause) Po to suffer undue psychological harm, humiliation ... (and) was done in breach of the duty and standard of care owed to Po as her nurse,” the lawsuit alleges.

Leung’s lawyer Corrente told The Toronto Sun that this could be a landmark case “since it may develop the law, including the standard of care owed by fertility clinic and medical professionals to their patients.”