March 19, 2018

2nd lawsuit filed over lost embryos at OH fertility clinic

13 March 2018, 01:23 | Randall Craig

ABC News The Pacific Fertility Center's refrigerator malfunctioned a temperature fluctuation that affected hundreds of eggs and embryos

Centers refrigerator malfunctioned a temperature fluctuation that affected hundreds of eggs and embryos

On the same day that a storage tank malfunction may have damaged frozen eggs and embryos at an OH hospital, a similar issue happened at a fertility clinic in San Francisco.

Two fertility clinics across the country from each other experienced equipment failures on the same day that may have damaged hundreds of frozen eggs and embryos, something that a fertility expert called a stunning coincidence and that is already producing lawsuits from crestfallen couples.

This announcement follows a proposed class action lawsuit filed Sunday on behalf of Amber and Elliott Ash, who lost two embryos stored in a freezer at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood. Dr. Carl Herbert is president of Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco.

None of the eggs and embryos impacted by the partial thaw will be destroyed.

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". The failure was discovered by the clinic's lab director, who noticed the level of liquid nitrogen in one of its steel storage tanks was too low, which resulted in a temperature increase. "The medical community calls it tissue".

The Pennsylvania couple's lawsuit against University Hospitals in Cleveland says they were beginning the process last week of transferring the frozen embryo when they later were told something went wrong. According to ABC News, the tank at Pacific Fertility Center in California had a temperature fluctuation with the inventory of egg and embryo assets.

"There was a gradient between the top of the cryo tank and the bottom and the bottom stayed at the proper levels so we are now looking at what specimens existed in that gradient, but obviously our concern is that there is potentially compromised embryos and our fear is a significant number of embryos and eggs have been compromised", Dr. Liu said.

The incident was the second liquid nitrogen failure at a fertility center reported in the same week. Herbert told the Post some of the eggs in the tank had been tested, and were undamaged.

Herbert told the Post his discussions with patients were emotional.

According to the Pacific Fertility website, egg-freezing costs $8,345 for the first round and $6,995 for each subsequent round.

How numerous eggs and embryos are no longer viable.

A liquid nitrogen storage tank at University Hospitals malfunctioned the weekend of March 3rd, causing 2100 eggs and embryos to be compromised. If they are not, he said, "we are going to make our patients happy one way or another". Some samples date to the 1980s. Hospital officials say about 700 patients are affected.

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