University Hospitals statement concerning fertility clinic

Fertility clinic disaster may have destroyed thousands of frozen eggs embryos

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Officials say approximately 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged due to a storage tank malfunction at an OH hospital fertility clinic.

Temperatures unexpectedly fluctuated in the liquid nitrogen storage bank at the University Hospitals Fertility Clinic where the eggs and embryos were stored, according to a University Hospitals statement.

Hundreds of families received troubling news this week after an unprecedented "malfunction" at a Cleveland egg-freezing facility. Some of the samples were provided in the 1980s. University Hospitals says it won't destroy the eggs and embryos, though whether patients will get their money back isn't yet clear. It is unknown whether the problem was caused by a human error or mechanical failure.

Costs for fertility treatments and in vitro fertilization range from clinic to clinic but usually runs to be about tens of thousands of dollars.

The only way to check if an egg or embryo is viable is to thaw it, which is only done when it is to be used imminently. Some specimens that were already thawed since Sunday for planned procedures were found not to be viable, the Plain Dealer reported.

'We will work with our member clinics to help them take any steps needed to ensure such an event never happens again'. There has been a temperature fluctuation that may have damaged the stored eggs they said. The alarm was sounding on Sunday morning when staff arrived but there was no one in the facility overnight on Saturday.

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The temperature had increased in the top of the tank, but had stayed at the proper levels at the bottom of the tank, Dr. James Liu, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UH Cleveland Medical Center, told WKYC.

The incident comes as a growing number of women choose to freeze their eggs due to illness, or because they are concerned that the quality and quantity of their eggs will drop over time.

Each vile contained two to three eggs or embryos from each patient.

The hospital may waive the cost of future procedures and treatments for the patients affected, according to WKYC.

'We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns'. Some of these eggs and embryos have been stored in there for decades.

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