Malfunction Leads to Loss of Frozen Eggs, Embryos

UH Fertility Clinic investigating failure involving eggs and embryos

A malfunction in a storage bank at an OH fertility clinic may cause damage to more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos, according to media reports.

The eggs and embryos have been moved to a different cryotank in the meantime, but their viability remains questionable.

According to University Hospitals, none of the eggs and embryos impacted by the partial thaw will be destroyed. About 700 patients were affected, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This could be heart-breaking for around 500 to 600 families, say the officials.

In order to see if the egg or embryo is still viable, it has to be thawed out and implanted.

These stored eggs and embryos may in some cases have been the only option for a woman or couple to have a biological child.

In a statement on Thursday, University Hospitals said that it doesn't know yet what caused the temperature to rise, but it's conducting an investigation into the matter. These eggs are watched over using a video surveillance and an alarm system.

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'Obviously the situation that occurred here is devastating for the families involved, and it's devastating for our physicians and our nurses and our staff as well, ' added DePompei. The hospital is bringing in experts to assist.

Right now, our patients come first.

The incident happened last week between Saturday night and Sunday morning when the storage facility was not staffed, hospital administrators told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns", University Hospitals said in a statement.

A call center has also been set up to arrange personal meetings or calls with physicians.

Egg freezing has grown in popularity, with more than 6,2000 women going through the procedure in 2015, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The numbers since then have only risen.

The average cost of fertility treatment can be around $10,000 so the financial impact is expected to be significant. Sean Tipton, chief policy officer at ASRM expressed his sympathy for the affected families and said the organization would look into the matter ensuring this is not repeated.

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