Glitch At Fertility Clinic Exposes Vulnerabilities In System For Women Freezing Eggs

Glitch At Fertility Clinic Exposes Vulnerabilities In System For Women Freezing Eggs

Glitch At Fertility Clinic Exposes Vulnerabilities In System For Women Freezing Eggs

Some eggs and embryos at a San Francisco fertility center may no longer be viable after a storage tank malfunction.

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

The lawsuits are a result of the potential loss of more than 2,000 eggs and embryos at UH's Fertility Center two weekends ago.

"At this point, we do not know the viability of all the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted", DePompei said in a video statement posted on Facebook. Another filled tank replaced it, and the tissue specimens were transferred.

There is just not an ability to do this unemotionally.

Herbert told the Post his discussions with patients were emotional. "Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family".

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It could take months for patients of that clinic to know if their eggs and embryos are still viable.

The dilemma for those involved is that their eggs and embryos have to be completely thawed to determine whether they are still viable, but if thawed, they can not be refrozen.

The hospital issued an apology after the unexplained malfunction caused temperatures inside the storage tank to rise. Embryos - fertilized eggs - are stored individually.

Approximately 500 to 600 families were affected by the OH fertility clinic tank failure.

The clinic in California informed about 400 patients of the failure, which occurred March 4. That's when the clinic performed an "emergency filling", where the tank with depleted levels of liquid nitrogen was refilled.

"This was a bad incident", Pacific Fertility Center President Carl Herbert, MD, told The Post. Herbert said the problem was "immediately rectified", and he also praised the clinic's decision to replace the troubled tank with the new one.

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The hospital reported Thursday that about 2,000 eggs and embryos that had been frozen in the tank may not be viable after the unexpected change in temperature. Staff members at the clinic then spent days going through patient records to verify which patients were affected.

Samples would need to be unthawed to determine whether they've been damaged.

"Right now, our patients come first", UH said in the statement.

Herbert is a longtime physician and researcher in assisted reproductive technology. He moved to San Francisco in 1990 and, with colleagues, purchased Pacific Fertility Center nine years later.

A second lawsuit has been filed by a family that says their frozen embryos were destroyed by a malfunction at a fertility center in Ohio. Some dated to the 1980s.

University Hospitals officials say procedure fees could be waived for future treatment, according to CNN affiliate WEWS.

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