Health Care

University Hospitals faces multiple lawsuits over Fertility Clinic incident

University Hospitals faces multiple lawsuits over Fertility Clinic incident

On the same day that a storage tank malfunction may have damaged frozen eggs and embryos at an OH hospital, a similar issue happened at a fertility clinic in San Francisco.

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

A San Francisco fertility clinic experienced a rare malfunction that could potentially affect patients' eggs and embryos on the same day that a clinic in Cleveland suffered a similar problem, ABC News reports. Dr. Carl Herbert is president of Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco.

The eggs and embryos have been moved to a different cryotank in the meantime, but their viability remains questionable. "Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family". The hospital hasn't said whether it would compensate about 700 affected patients, who are being notified through letters and telephone calls. He said that the clinic's staff thawed a few eggs and found that they remain viable, though they do not know how many are still usable. That's when the clinic performed an "emergency filling", where the tank with depleted levels of liquid nitrogen was refilled. Too little liquid nitrogen causes the temperature to rise, with a risk of damage to the tissue housed in vials called cryolocks. Herbert says the embryos were later transferred to a new tank.

"There was a gradient between the top of the cryo tank and the bottom and the bottom stayed at the proper levels so we are now looking at what specimens existed in that gradient, but obviously our concern is that there is potentially compromised embryos and our fear is a significant number of embryos and eggs have been compromised", Dr. Liu said.

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The clinic in California informed about 400 patients of the failure, which occurred March 4.

"This was a bad incident", Herbert told the Post, "but I was reassured that he did everything anybody could ever want to do". They amounted to an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the total stored at the facility, according to Pacific Fertility Clinic spokesperson Alden Romney.

According to the clinic's website, its fees for egg freezing are $8,345 for the initial cycle and $6,995 for each subsequent round.

"We just want to hold UH accountable, that they should make this right", said UH patient Kate Plants.

The clinic is uncertain how numerous eggs and embryos are damaged, he said, and can't be used for in-vitro fertilization. "The Pennsylvania couple entrusted UHFC with their dreams of having children, as well as their most sensitive and important property: their frozen embryos". Some dated to the 1980s.