More lawsuits filed against University Hospitals over fertility clinic disaster

Centers refrigerator malfunctioned a temperature fluctuation that affected hundreds of eggs and embryos

These are those eggs and embryos which are stored by hundreds of women in a hope that they are going to have children soon.

The clinic also sent out emails to two other groups of patients about the failure - an estimated 100 patients who had tissue in the problematic tank and another tank, and then a second group whose embryos and eggs remained undamaged.

When WJZ spoke to Elliott and Amber Ash last week, they were devastated their frozen embryos at Ahuja Medical Center outside Cleveland might be destroyed. In the case in OH, the facility said the only way to determine the viability of the eggs and the embryos of 700 patients is to fully thaw them. The number of eggs and embryos affected was not disclosed.

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.

Sean Tipton, chief policy, development and advocacy officer for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which represents people working in fertility clinics, said the first priority is to work with patients to see if some of their eggs or embryos were stored in other tanks or at other facilities. The increased temperature risks damage to the eggs and embryos. According to the clinic, liquid nitrogen levels dropped in a tank that housed eggs and embryos.

In a class action lawsuit, they allege the hospital failed "to maintain, inspect, monitor, and/or test their liquid nitrogen storage tanks".

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The couple received notification of the failure on Friday and over the weekend, were told by physicians that their embryos are no longer viable. The clinic also has brought in a multidiscplinary team to investigate the tank itself and "every aspect that involves cryopreservation", he said.

Samples would need to be unthawed to determine whether they've been damaged. While the staff spent days sorting through records to verify which patients' tissue was inside, he said they do not yet know how many of them were still planning to use it.

"They turned on the TV and saw it themselves and thought 'We have just lost our family's most valuable treasure, '" DiCello said.

"At this point, we do not know the viability of all of the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted", said Patti DePompei, president of UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, in a videoposted Thursday on Facebook. He moved to San Francisco in 1990 and, with colleagues, purchased Pacific Fertility Center nine years later.

University Hospitals officials say procedure fees could be waived for future treatment, according to CNN affiliate WEWS.

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