Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Fertility clinics respond to egg, embryo storage failures

Fertility clinics respond to egg, embryo storage failures

Women freeze eggs in order to postpone pregnancy until a later date or to have a supply for in vitro fertilization attempts.

The first class-action lawsuit was filed Sunday on behalf of OH couple Amber and Elliott Ash after Amber's mother alerted the couple last Thursday to news coverage of the malfunction at University Hospital Fertility Center in Cleveland, attorney Robert F. Dicello told ABC News.

The hospital estimates about 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged or destroyed by a storage tank malfunction.

In a statement, the clinic acknowledged there was viable tissue in the affected tank, adding "we are truly sorry this happened, and for the anxiety that this will surely cause". And a larger group whose tissue was unaffected.

"Anger is a big part of the phone call", Herbert told the Post. We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns. They have not checked any of the embryos, he said. A spokesperson for University Hospitals said Monday that the health system is still investigating if human error or an equipment malfunction was to blame. Too little liquid nitrogen causes the temperature to rise, with a risk of damage to the tissue housed in vials called cryolocks.

The second class-action lawsuit was filed Monday on behalf of Pennsylvania couple Laurel and Dustin Clark, who last Monday called UHFC to set an appointment to begin the implantation procedure using their frozen embryos that had been stored at the clinic, lawyer Adam Wolf told ABC News.

According to University Hospitals, none of the eggs and embryos impacted by the partial thaw will be destroyed. "This was a bad incident", Herbert said, "but I was reassured that.he did everything anybody could ever want to do".

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University Hospitals - which runs the fertility clinic - released a statement apologizing for the incident and promising to help patients in any way possible.

Hunt said staff members at the Grand Rapids clinic also physically check the tanks every week.

Herbert said the embryos were later transferred to a new tank.

"We measure them with a stick so we see that there is liquid nitrogen in there", she said.

According to the clinic's website, its fees for egg freezing are $8,345 for the initial cycle and $6,995 for each subsequent round. Before undergoing treatment, he froze his sperm and the couple stored their embryos at UHFC, DiCello said. If they are not, he said, "we are going to make our patients happy one way or another". He moved to San Francisco in 1990 and, with colleagues, purchased Pacific Fertility Center nine years later.

Last Thursday, University Hospitals announced that up to 2,000 eggs and embryos at the Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood, Ohio, may have lost viability at an on-site storage tank at its fertility center.

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