March 24, 2018

Security increased at UH Ahuja Fertility Center after egg, embryo freezer malfunction

11 March 2018, 01:36 | Rex Hubbard

Fertility Clinic Freezer Malfunction in Ohio Affects Hundreds of Patients and More Than 2000 Eggs

UH Fertility Clinic investigating failure involving eggs and embryos

More than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos have been left compromised at a Cleveland fertility clinic after a malfunction caused temperatures to drop last weekend in the freezers where they were stored.

The clinic says that it doesn't know yet whether or not the viability of the eggs and embryos stored in liquid nitrogen at the affected bank has been compromised.

The situation is "devastating for the families involved, and it's devastating for our physicians and our nurses and our staff as well", Patti DePompei, president of UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and MacDonald Women's Hospital, told NBC News. Some people had multiple samples stored, and some eggs and embryos have been stored since the 1980s.

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.

The recent incident has caused concern for University Hospitals, which has reached out to patients to learn if the eggs and embryos are still viable.

"We are so very sorry this happened and we want to do all we can to support our patients and families through this very hard time". Per a University Hospitals statement cited by News 5 Cleveland, the facility has "initiated contact with all of our patients", and a call center has been set up so patients can set up meetings with doctors. All have been moved to another cryo tank at the correct temperature.

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On Friday, the fertility center had informed about 700 patients that their eggs and embryos may have been destroyed.

Samples would have to be thawed to determine whether they've been damaged.

The average cost of fertility treatment can be around $10,000 so the financial impact is expected to be significant. "We will work with our member clinics to help them take any steps needed to ensure such an event never happens again".

"Our hearts go out to the patients who have suffered this loss", Sean Tipton, chief policy officer at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ARSM) reportedly said.

With more women deciding on a late motherhood, freezing eggs has become increasingly popular.

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