Families in flux as thousands of embryos compromised at OH hospital

Brandon Parsons
March 11, 2018

A temperature malfunction at a fertility clinic in the Cleveland area may have compromised the viability of more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos.

The officials said that one of the long-term storage tank that contained liquid nitrogen had an equipment failure that caused the temperatures to rise temporarily.

"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, the president of University Hospital Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, in a Facebook video announcing the news.

The damaged eggs are a crushing blow to patients, including women who planned to donate their eggs, hoped to delay a pregnancy or were storing embryos while undergoing in vitro fertilization.

'But we do know that the temperature that was measured at a portion of the tank was higher than our acceptable limits'.

"Until we know the issue that caused this we will be monitoring the tank 24/7", Liu told Cleveland.com.

Prior to surgery, she underwent fertility treatment at University Hospitals to harvest eggs for her future. There has been a temperature fluctuation that may have damaged the stored eggs they said.

A call center has also been set up to arrange personal meetings or calls with physicians. "We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns", the University Hospitals statement said.

Approximately 500 to 600 families were affected by the malfunction and University Hospitals have begun the tedious task of reaching out to all the families to see how they wish to proceed. In order to determine whether or not the eggs and embryos are still viable, they have to be completely thawed, but they can not be refrozen after that.

The fertility center apologized for the mistake and said it plans to investigate how it happened.

The average cost of fertility treatment can be around $10,000 so the financial impact is expected to be significant.

"We are so very sorry this happened". According to the latest figures from the ARSM, more than 6,200 women froze their eggs in 2015.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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