Hundreds of embryos damaged at United States clinic
Hundreds of embryos damaged at United States clinic
ABC News The Pacific Fertility Center's refrigerator malfunctioned a temperature fluctuation that affected hundreds of eggs and embryos
12 March, 2018, 18:13
Last week, an OH hospital said more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged due to a refrigerator malfunction.
The pair of incidents, with powerful emotional and financial consequences, come as the number of USA women freezing their eggs has soared in recent years as assisted reproductive technology has advanced and become increasingly popular.
The spokesman, Tom Becker, confirmed a Washington Post report of the March 4 incident.
The clinic declined to specify the number of eggs and embryos affected but said that "several thousand" were in the waist-high tank.
In a statement Sunday night, the center said the malfunction was brief and attributed it to a loss of liquid nitrogen.
An Ohio family has filed a class action lawsuit against the hospital where officials estimate about 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged by a storage tank malfunction. The hospital hasn't said whether it would compensate about 700 affected patients, who are being notified through letters and telephone calls. Dr. Carl Herbert, president and medical director at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, told ABC News that in his 35 years of Cryopreservation it is an "an unusual event" where two clinics and two liquid nitrogen storage tanks where the tissues are stored "failed". Herbert could not be reached by The Chronicle for comment. All of the samples have been moved to another storage tank.
"This was a awful incident", Herbert told the Post, "but I was reassured that he did everything anybody could ever want to do".
University Hospitals issued a statement Sunday saying, "We understand why some people might feel compelled to take this step". They have not checked any of the embryos, he said. In addition, we have completed a physical inspection of all of the lab equipment and have also thoroughly reviewed all cryo-preservation protocols with staff.
"We are incredibly sorry this happened", the hospital said.
The clinic is uncertain how numerous eggs and embryos are damaged, he said, and can't be used for in-vitro fertilization.
"This was a bad incident", Herbert said, "but I was reassured that. he did everything anybody could ever want to do".
In addition to the emotional toll of patients not knowing if the specimens are usable, the financial cost could also be high.
According to Herbert, the extent to which the chemical failure damaged the eggs and embryos remains unclear.
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