Failures put fertility centers in the spotlight

Cryogenic storage containers for eggs to be used for invitro fertilization are

Cryogenic storage containers for eggs to be used for invitro fertilization are

The president of a California fertility clinic where thousands of frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged says the problem was "immediately rectified" by a worker who refilled a low nitrogen tank.

According to, UH officials say they've increased security at UH Ahuja Medical Center since the incident.

The couple says their embryos are now no longer viable. Early Sunday, the clinic also sent out emails explaining what had happened to two other groups: Roughly 100 who had tissue in both the problematic tank and another tank.

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.

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".

The University Hospital Fertility Center in Cleveland has a long-term storage tank containing liquid nitrogen that suffered equipment failure. Embryos - fertilized eggs - are stored individually. They amounted to an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the total stored at the facility, according to Pacific Fertility Clinic spokesperson Alden Romney.

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

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

The clinic has reported the incident to the College of American Pathologists, which regulates labs, and the overseers of California's tissue banks, Herbert said. The embryos, he said, were later transferred to a new tank. The clinic also has brought in a multidiscplinary team to investigate the tank itself and "every aspect that involves cryopreservation", he said. Staff members at the clinic then spent days going through patient records to verify which patients were affected. The only way to determine if they've been damaged is to let them thaw, but they can not be frozen again.

"We would love to have our own biological child, so when we found out that that decision was made for us, and they're destroyed, you're grieving the loss of your own child essentially because your hopes and dreams are put into that embryo", Kate Plants said.

Herbert who is a physician and researcher in assisted reproductive technology talks about the same. He moved to San Francisco in 1990 and, with colleagues, purchased Pacific Fertility Center nine years later. Some dated to the 1980s.

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