Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Thousands of frozen eggs, embryos possibly damaged at Ohio hospital

Thousands of frozen eggs, embryos possibly damaged at Ohio hospital

Hundreds of families' dreams of having a baby using frozen eggs or embryos may have been dashed due to a storage tank malfunction at an OH fertility center.

Accordingly, huge numbers of the eggs and embryos - some of which have been put away for a considerable length of time - may never again be feasible, Patti DePompei, president, UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital revealed to NBC News.

The freezer, which is one of two at the UH Fertility Center, held around 2,000 egg and embryo specimens, Dr James Liu, chairman of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UH Cleveland Medical Center, told Cleveland.com.

That means the hospital will have to sit down with more than 700 patients and decide how they want to proceed.

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"We don't know the reasons why yet, but we do know that the temperature that was measured at a portion of the tank was higher than our acceptable limits", DePompei said.

The failure caused the temperature to rise, ultimately making the eggs and embryos at the facility lose their viability.

All of the samples have been moved to another storage tank at the same facility, which is being monitored around the clock by staff on site.

The only way to determine if the specimens are viable is to unthaw them, he said, which is only done when the samples are used in order to avoid any damage. Patients are being asked to contact their physicians.

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"We are investigating a recent incident at our fertility clinic involving an unexpected temperature fluctuation in the storage bank", University Hospitals said in a statement released on Facebook with a video from DePompei.

DePompei said the hospital sent letters to all the affected patients on Tuesday morning, after verifying current addresses.

Patients typically pay about $12,000 without insurance for in vitro fertilization.

University Hospitals is considering waiving fees for any future procedures for anyone who had eggs or embryos stored, according to WEWS future. Calls will be taken Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. through 1 p.m.

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