Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Fertility centers address egg and embryo storage error

Fertility centers address egg and embryo storage error

Meanwhile, a nitrogen storage container at Pacific Fertility Center in California also malfunctioned on March 4, putting thousands of frozen embryos and eggs in danger.

A second fertility clinic says thousands of frozen eggs and embryos may have been jeopardized from a freezer failure.

The first class-action lawsuit was filed Sunday on behalf of OH couple Amber and Elliott Ash after Amber's mother alerted the couple last Thursday to news coverage of the malfunction at University Hospital Fertility Center in Cleveland, attorney Robert F. Dicello told ABC News.

In a statement, the Pacific Fertility Center said "viable tissue" had been recovered from the one tank affected and that "the vast majority of the eggs and embryos in the lab were unaffected".

Now couples who had embryos stored at the OH facility are suing.

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"It's heartbreaking, just heartbreaking", Amber Ash told WEWS-TV.

The Ashes have a 2-year-old son they conceived through in-vitro fertilization at UHFC and were hoping they would be able to have a genetic sibling for the boy, DiCello said.

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. I like to think of it as my children. We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns. They had spent eight years trying to become parents and were devastated, attorney Lydia Floyd said.

Lawsuits are piling up against University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland, after more than 600 women and couples were informed their frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged.

Dr. Carl Herbert, president of the Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco, told ABC News in an interview released Monday that a senior embryologist noticed the nitrogen level in one tank was very low during a routine check of the tanks March 4. The clinic also has brought in a multidiscplinary team to investigate the tank itself and "every aspect that involves cryopreservation", he said.

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A spokesperson for the San Francisco clinic says the eggs and embryos from the troubled tank represent about 15 percent of the total stored at the facility.

University Hospitals - which runs the fertility clinic - released a statement apologizing for the incident and promising to help patients in any way possible.

Dr. Kevin Doody, lab director at the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Texas and past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, told The Associated Press that the almost simultaneous storage failures are "beyond stunning" but appear to be "just a bad, bad, bad coincidence".

But he says that so far, nobody knows of any connection between the two failures.

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