'Devastating news' as 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may be lost due to malfunction


'Devastating news' as 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may be lost due to malfunction

More than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos stored at a Cleveland-area fertility clinic may no longer be viable after temperatures in a storage bank rose over the weekend.

A liquid nitrogen storage tank at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center unexpectedly heated up sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, hospital administrators told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  While the extent of the loss is still unclear, the hospital informed about 700 patients that their frozen eggs and embryos may have suffered damage. Some of the samples were frozen in the 1980s.

University Hospitals does not know how or why the temperature fluctuated and has launched an investigation to determine what happened, it said in a statement Thursday. It is unknown whether the problem was caused by a human error or mechanical failure.

The potential damage to hundreds or thousands of eggs would be a devastating financial and emotional blow to the respective patients, which include women donating their eggs, women hoping to delay a pregnancy or women storing extra embryos while they undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The process of removing and freezing a woman’s eggs is arduous and can cost upward of $10,000, plus hundreds of dollars in yearly storage fees. And for some families, the treatment is their only chance at conceiving a child.

The only way to find out if the samples are still viable is to thaw and implant them, the hospital told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Some specimens that already were thawed since Sunday for planned procedures were found not to be viable, the Plain Dealer reported.

We are so very sorry this happened and we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this very difficult time,” Patti DePompei, president of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and MacDonald Women’s Hospital, said in a video posted on Facebook Thursday.

DePompei said hospital staff members have consulted with numerous experts to “better understand the cause of this temperature fluctuation and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

“It’s devastating,” DePompei told WKYC. “It’s absolutely devastating.”

No malfunction of this kind has been reported at any other fertility clinic in the country, a spokesman for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine told NBC news.

“Our hearts go out to the patients who have suffered this loss,” Sean Tipton, chief policy officer at ASRM, told NBC News.

Article: www.washingtonpost.com 9th March 2018