Egg Storage Malfunction Reported at US Fertility Clinic


Two fertility clinics are facing a barrage of complaints about equipment failures that may have destroyed thousands of frozen embryos and eggs.

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".

A team in his firm are already drawing up lawsuits that will be filed within this week in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. "I think something that sensitive and that precious, they should have had fail safes and fail safes and fail safes". Meanwhile, dozens of patients have filed or intend to file lawsuits against the center.

"Normally, we look to the first judge to receive a filed case and consolidate all of the subsequent cases with that judge", Russo said.

The Pennsylvania couple's lawsuit against University Hospitals in Cleveland says they were beginning the process last week of transferring the frozen embryo when they later were told something went wrong.

The family also says the hospital did not notify them of the issue for almost a week.

But government review is unlikely because there is minimal federal oversight of fertility clinics. "When you're dealing with a singular cell, there's no room for error", he said.

Lawyers for Amber and Elliott Ash, of the Cleveland suburb of Bay Village, and an unidentified Pennsylvania couple have sued University Hospitals after its fertility clinic in suburban Cleveland discovered a storage tank malfunction March 4 and said last week that as many as 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged.

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The clinic is sending letters to about 500 patients "that may have been involved in this tank", Herbert said.

Lawsuits are piling up against University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland, after more than 600 women and couples were informed their frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged. They also stated that many people have lost what could have been their future sons and daughters. Fertility experts say it is probably well over 1 million today - more than the population of Austin.

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

Lawyers for the couples who went to the OH clinic are seeking class action status, which would require approval from a judge.

"This is a tragic loss for anybody", Wolf said. Class action plaintiffs, on the other hand, are treated as one plaintiff, and known collectively as the class.

"There is nothing you can do to fix what happened to these families", Merriman said.

"We can't say definitively nothing like this has ever happened, but we are certainly not aware of anything", said Sean Tipton, the association's chief policy, advocacy and development officer, to the Post.