Failures put fertility centers in the spotlight

In vitro fertilization

University Hospitals now faces multiple lawsuits following an incident at its Fertility Clinic that compromised hundreds of eggs and embryos stored in liquid nitrogen. 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.

"You don't even think about what's happening in the lab", said patient Katie Miller, a patient who has stored embryos stored at the center.

Herbert told the Post his discussions with patients were emotional.

"That was such a big loss for us, and I felt like that was very impersonal", she said. 'Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family. "We have already initiated contact with all of our patients to inform them and respond to their questions, and set up a designated call center to arrange personal meetings or calls with their physicians".

The clinic is sending letters to about 500 patients "that may have been involved in this tank", Herbert said. "The Pennsylvania couple entrusted UHFC with their dreams of having children, as well as their most sensitive and important property: their frozen embryos".

The failure came the same day as one at a Cleveland-area clinic where officials estimate about 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged by a similar storage malfunction.

Last week, an OH hospital said more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged due to a refrigerator malfunction.

The hospital issued an apology after the unexplained malfunction caused temperatures inside the storage tank to rise.

The equipment malfunction at the fertility clinic in Cleveland that same weekend affected about 700 families, University Hospitals reported in a statement Thursday.

This is the second freezer failure in a fertility clinic in the last week.

When WJZ spoke to Elliott and Amber Ash last week, they were devastated their frozen embryos at Ahuja Medical Center outside Cleveland might be destroyed.

In order to check viability, the eggs and embryos have to be thawed and then implanted. "We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns", the University Hospitals statement said.

Egg freezing has grown in popularity, with an estimated 20,000 U.S. women who have had the procedure, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. According to The Post, the process of removing and freezing a woman's eggs can cost more than $10,000, plus yearly storage fees.

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