More lawsuits filed after eggs, embryos compromised at UH Fertility Clinic

Ebony Scott
March 13, 2018

In Cleveland, patients at The University Hospital's fertility clinic are planning to take legal action after 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged by a failed liquid nitrogen tank.

Doctor removing embryo samples from cryogenic storage, Fertilized embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen filled tanks to keep them as new if patients require them at a later date. Embryos - fertilized eggs - are stored individually.

The spokesman, Tom Becker, confirmed a Washington Post report of the March 4 incident.

A fertility expert says that the almost simultaneous storage failures at two fertility clinics across the country from each other are "beyond stunning" but that it appears to be just a coincidence.

The incident at Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco happened on the same day as University Hospitals in Cleveland.

Herbert said that the problem was discovered by the clinic's laboratory director, who noticed during a routine check of the steel storage tanks that the level of liquid nitrogen in one tank was too low. Herbert could not be reached by The Chronicle for comment.

"Anger is a big part of the phone call", Herbert told the Post.

In its statement, Pacific Fertility said an independent investigation is in progress and apologized for the incident.

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According to Cleveland.com, UH officials say they've increased security at UH Ahuja Medical Center since the incident. In addition, we have completed a physical inspection of all of the lab equipment and have also thoroughly reviewed all cryo-preservation protocols with staff.

The first class action lawsuit has been filed against University Hospitals following a refrigerator malfunction that has left the viability of 2,000 eggs and embryos in question.

A spokesperson with the clinic told the post that an estimated 15 percent of the clinic's total number of eggs and embryos were in the damaged tank.

In addition to the emotional toll of patients not knowing if the specimens are usable, the financial cost could also be high.

According to the clinic's website, its fees for egg freezing are $8,345 for the initial cycle and $6,995 for each subsequent round.

In a statement, the Pacific Fertility Center said "viable tissue" had been recovered from the one tank affected and that "the vast majority of the eggs and embryos in the lab were unaffected". The increased temperature risks damage to the eggs and embryos. With two occurring nearly simultaneously, he said, further investigation is necessary.

Sean Tipton who is the association's chief policy, advocacy and development officer tells,"We can't say definitively nothing like this has ever happened, but we are certainly not aware of anything".

Other reports by GizPress

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