A malfunction in a storage bank at an OH fertility clinic may cause damage to more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos, according to media reports.
The officials said that one of the long-term storage tank that contained liquid nitrogen had an equipment failure that caused the temperatures to rise temporarily.
Patti DePompei, president of UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, told NBC News this malfunction may have caused damage to numerous eggs and embryos - some of which have been stored for decades.
The damaged eggs are a crushing blow to patients, including women who planned to donate their eggs, hoped to delay a pregnancy or were storing embryos while undergoing in vitro fertilization.
DePompei said the temperature fluctuation had occurred "due to reasons unknown" and that the hospital had launched a major investigation to find out what happened.
"Until we know the issue that caused this we will be monitoring the tank 24/7", Liu told Cleveland.com.
At the tissue storage bank, these eggs and embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen according to a hospital spokesperson's statement yesterday (8th of March 2018).
"We will work with the patient one on one to understand her needs, understand how we might be able to offer some other avenue for her to achieve fertility, it may not be the exact thing that she had planned but we as physicians will work with the patient one on one and arrive at hopefully a way to help that individual", Dr. Liu said. We are incredibly sorry this happened. 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. It's only clear if an egg or embryo is damaged after it's been thawed and implanted.
Right now, our patients come first. These eggs are watched over using a video surveillance and an alarm system.
As of now these eggs and embryos have been moved to a working tank.
DePompei stated: 'We are working very very carefully to determine how we can best support them through the process'. According to the latest figures from the ARSM, more than 6,200 women froze their eggs in 2015. The cost of the procedure range from at least $12,000 to $14,000.
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