2 fertility clinics respond to egg, embryo storage failures

University Hospitals statement concerning fertility clinic

The March 4 incident at Pacific Fertility Clinic, acknowledged Sunday by the facility's president, followed a similar malfunction the same weekend at an unrelated clinic in Cleveland, the University Hospitals Fertility Center.

Another, Amber Ash, wrote how sick she feels having two embryos involved in the malfunction, adding, "there is so much grief and a lack of control in the world of infertility and this compounds it".

"What is most disturbing to me is that everyone I talked to has been informed by UH that their embryos are not viable, they've been destroyed, different from what has been out there publicly which has been that they've been compromised, we don't know".

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

Another fertility clinic, this one in San Francisco, recently reported that a faulty storage tank may have ruined some frozen eggs and embryos.

Now couples who had embryos stored at the OH facility are suing.

The Ash family welcomed Ethan, now 2-years-old, into their lives through in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, at UH.

"With this lawsuit, we will get answers and stop this from happening again", said Mark DiCello, an attorney for the Ashes.

The first class action lawsuit has been filed against University Hospitals following a refrigerator malfunction that has left the viability of 2,000 eggs and embryos in question.

Attorneys for the Pennsylvania couple say they spent eight years trying to have a baby and are devastated by the loss.

Dr. Carl Herbert is president of Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco.

That embryologist, Herbert said, "immediately rectified" the problem by refilling the tank.

On Saturday night, doctors with the clinic called some of the 400 patients who had their embryos and eggs stored in the damaged tank.

Dr. Kevin Doody, lab director at the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Texas and past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, told The Associated Press that the almost simultaneous storage failures are "beyond stunning" but appear to be "just a bad, bad, bad coincidence".

The clinic also sent out emails to two other groups of patients about the failure - an estimated 100 patients who had tissue in the problematic tank and another tank, and then a second group whose embryos and eggs remained undamaged.

He says the clinic has put in place more failsafe measures to prevent a repeat.

The industry in the long run will end up being safer because there will be investigations and other facilities will examine their own backup measures and alarm systems, he said.


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