Frozen embryos lost: Calif. clinic admits failure, OH clinic faces lawsuit


Dr. Carl Herbert, president and medical director at the center, told ABC News that one of the employees noticed during a routine check of the tanks that the nitrogen level in one tank was very low. Officials at University Hospital Fertility Center in Cleveland said that a storage tank failure may have damaged about 2,000 eggs and embryos. That incident reportedly affected some 700 patients.

The pair of incidents, with powerful emotional and financial consequences, come as the number of USA women freezing their eggs has soared in recent years as assisted reproductive technology has advanced and become increasingly popular.

The lab director transferred the eggs and embryos to a spare storage tank filled with nitrogen.

"Anger is a big part of the phone call", Herbert told the Post. The increased temperature risks damage to the eggs and embryos. Landskroner Greico Merriman's Tom Merriman has also said he's representing several patients involved. He said that the clinic's staff thawed a few eggs and found that they remain viable, though they do not know how many are still usable.

"We understand why some people might feel compelled to take this step".

The lawsuit, posted on WKYC Channel 3, was filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, is seeking damages in "excess of $25,000".

The San Francisco-based clinic has brought in a team to investigate the malfunction.

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"This was a awful incident", Pacific Fertility Center President Carl Herbert, MD, told The Post.

Tipton said he was unaware of similar malfunctions that damaged thousands of eggs and embryos. While the staff spent days sorting through records to verify which patients' tissue was inside, he said they do not yet know how many of them were still planning to use it.

The clinic's price for freezing eggs starts at $8,345, and in-vitro fertilization is $11,595, according to its website.

In a statement, Pacific Fertility said that "the vast majority of the eggs and embryos in the lab were unaffected, and the facility is operating securely".

The hospital system revealed last week that a problem in one of two large freezers preserving specimens at the UH Fertility Center housed at the Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood was discovered on the morning of March 4.

"We are incredibly sorry this happened".

After the Cleveland incident, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine released a statement saying that the cryogenic failure and "potential loss of eggs and embryos at University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland is a tragedy". Some patients had more than one sample stored, and some of the samples were provided as long ago as the 1980s.