Families in flux as thousands of embryos compromised at OH hospital

UH Fertility Clinic investigating failure involving eggs and embryos

Malfunction At Freezing Facility Could Have Damaged Thousands Of Frozen Eggs, Embryos

University Hospitals is considering waiving fees for any future procedures for anyone who had eggs or embryos stored, according to WEWS future. Some of the samples were provided in the 1980s. University Hospitals says it won't destroy the eggs and embryos, though whether patients will get their money back isn't yet clear.

The reason for the malfunction is still unknown.

The potential damage to hundreds or thousands of eggs would be a devastating financial and emotional blow to the respective patients, which include women donating their eggs, women hoping to delay a pregnancy or women storing extra embryos while they undergo in vitro fertilization. Storage for embryos also cost hundreds of dollars from year to year but have shown to last in the freezer process for decades.

It is exacerbated by the fact that the only way to determine if the specimens are viable is to thaw them, Liu told the Plain Dealer. According to Patti DePompei, president, UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, these eggs may no longer be viable for use. The tanks are attached with alarms, which will go off if the temperature drops below a certain level.

We are bringing in independent experts to ensure we understand all aspects of this occurrence and do everything possible to address the situation. About 2,000 eggs and embryos from 700 patients are stored there.

The storage tank had off-site monitoring and an audible alarm that would alert staff to such a temperature change. Per a University Hospitals statement cited by News 5 Cleveland, the facility has "initiated contact with all of our patients", and a call center has been set up so patients can set up meetings with doctors. "People move, their addresses change but we've made our best attempts to track down everyone". At this time, we don't yet know the viability of these eggs and embryos.

The news came to patients in the form of a letter on Thursday.

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