Eggs stored at a fertility clinic in danger due to a malfunction

11 March, 2018, 01:34 | Author: Clint Gray
  • UH Fertility Clinic investigating failure involving eggs and embryos

Heartbreak for hundreds of families has followed the revelation that a refrigerator malfunction last weekend at Cleveland's University Hospitals' fertility clinics compromised thousands of embryos.

Patti DePompei, president of UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, told NBC News this malfunction may have caused damage to numerous eggs and embryos - some of which have been stored for decades. At this time, we don't yet know the viability of these eggs and embryos. She explained that the reasons were being explored but all they could say now was that the temperatures at one part of the storage tank was higher than their acceptable limits.

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

Patients are concerned their hopes and chances of having a child have been lost with this incident.

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According to reports, the hospital said it will not destroy any of the eggs or embryos. "Right now, our patients and families are our first priority". These eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and taken to a laboratory where they are cooled to subzero temperatures in a liquid nitrogen tank. "And we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this hard time", said the clinic.

A call center has also been set up to arrange personal meetings or calls with physicians. This is possible by thawing and implanting the eggs before confirming any damage. The hospital hasn't said whether it would compensate about 700 affected patients.

As of now these eggs and embryos have been moved to a working tank.

"We're working very, very hard to try to support them through what is understandably incredibly challenging situation, and we're working very hard to come up with more definitive answers for specific questions they may have as it relates to their own family", DePompei said.

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

On average, freezing eggs can cost between $12,000 and $14,000. According to the latest figures from the ARSM, more than 6,200 women froze their eggs in 2015.

'Our hearts go out to the patients who have suffered this loss, ' said ASRM's chief policy officer, Sean Tipton, to NBC News.

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