Second US fertility clinic reports egg storage tank malfunction

University Hospitals statement concerning fertility clinic

In what appears to be a stunning and heartbreaking coincidence, another fertility clinic said Monday its equipment temporarily failed, possibly damaging hundreds of eggs and embryos.

Lawyers for Amber and Elliott Ash, of the Cleveland suburb of Bay Village, and an unidentified Pennsylvania couple have sued University Hospitals after its fertility clinic in suburban Cleveland discovered a storage tank malfunction March 4 and said last week that as many as 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged. PRW has received calls from at least 12 patients affected by a similar accident at a San Francisco fertility clinic, and looking for legal representation, Wolf said.

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

On March 10, Pacific Fertility staff began notifying more than 400 patients who had all of their eggs or embryos stored in the affected tank and roughly 100 more patients who had about half of their eggs in the affected storage tank. 'Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family. "Anger is a big part of the phone call", Herbert said of his discussions with patients.

The dilemma for those involved is that their eggs and embryos have to be completely thawed to determine whether they are still viable, but if thawed, they can not be refrozen.

The University Hospital Fertility Center in Cleveland has a long-term storage tank containing liquid nitrogen that suffered equipment failure. Too little liquid nitrogen causes the temperature to rise, with a risk of damage to the tissue housed in vials called cryolocks. Pacific Fertility said in a statement that "the vast majority of the eggs and embryos in the lab were unaffected, and the facility is operating securely".

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"Our patients and the safety of their eggs and embryos are our highest priorities and we are reaching out to inform them of this incident".

That embryologist, Herbert said, "immediately rectified" the problem by refilling the tank.

The incident was the second liquid nitrogen failure at a fertility center reported in the same week.

In the earlier incident Ohio, UH officials notified about 700 patients that their frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged.

"We are so very sorry, we want to do all that we can to support them and we will stand by to answer questions and address them, understanding that we may not have all of those answers right now", DePompei said. The couple says their embryos are now no longer viable.

Hospital officials say more than 500 patients were affected, including some that provided samples in the 1980's. Some dated to the 1980s.