March 17, 2018

Fertility Clinic Failures 'beyond Stunning'

13 March 2018, 04:18 | Darrell Baldwin

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

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.

The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs and others who have been harmed.

Amber and Elliott Ash, who lost two embryos stored in a freezer at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood, filed the lawsuit Sunday, according to local news reports. The level of liquid nitrogen in a cryo-storage tank used to preserve eggs and embryos dropped, raising the temperature in the tank and putting the eggs and embryos at risk.

An Ohio hospital where approximately 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged by a storage tank malfunction has apologized to patients and said it will do "everything possible to address the situation". The couple has a 2-year-old son conceived through in-vitro fertilization, and hoped to bring him a genetic sibling.

"With this lawsuit, we will get answers and stop this from happening again", said Mark DiCello, an attorney for the Ashes.

A spokesperson with the clinic told the post that an estimated 15 percent of the clinic's total number of eggs and embryos were in the damaged tank.

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.

"I think that there is just a lot of anger and hurt in the infertility community right now about this". They had spent eight years trying to become parents and were devastated, attorney Lydia Floyd said.

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

That embryologist, Herbert said, "immediately rectified" the problem by refilling the tank.

"At this point, we do not know the viability of all of the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted", said Patti DePompei, president of UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, in a videoposted Thursday on Facebook. It has put in place more failsafe measures to prevent a repeat.

A fertility expert says that the almost simultaneous storage failures at two fertility clinics across the country from each other are "beyond stunning" but that it appears to be just a coincidence.

The industry in the long run will end up being safer because there will be investigations and other facilities will examine their own backup measures and alarm systems, he said.

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