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13 March 2018, 01:27 | Melissa Porter
Cryogenic storage containers for eggs to be used for invitro fertilization are
A San Francisco fertility clinic says thousands of frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged after a liquid nitrogen failure in a storage tank.
Two fertility clinics across the country from each other experienced equipment failures on the same day that may have damaged hundreds of frozen eggs and embryos, something that a fertility expert called a stunning coincidence and that is already producing lawsuits from crestfallen couples.
Amber and Elliott Ash, of Bay Village, say they had two embryos stored at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center's suburban fertility clinic after Elliott's cancer diagnosis in 2003.
As at the University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland in recent days, the half-dozen doctors at the Pacific Fertility Clinic raced over the weekend to notify their patients, according to Carl Herbert, a physician and the clinic's president.
None of the eggs and embryos impacted by the partial thaw will be destroyed.
Sean Tipton, chief policy, development and advocacy officer for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which represents people working in fertility clinics, said the first priority is to work with patients to see if some of their eggs or embryos were stored in other tanks or at other facilities. "Anger is a big part of the phone call", Herbert said of his discussions with patients. 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.
"This was a awful incident", Herbert told the Post, "but I was reassured that he did everything anybody could ever want to do".
This is the second freezer failure in a fertility clinic in the last week.
According to Cleveland.com, UH officials say they've increased security at UH Ahuja Medical Center since the incident. About 700 patients were notified about the incident, and the eggs and embryos have been moved to a different storage tank, UH said.
The clinic is uncertain how numerous eggs and embryos are damaged, he said, and can't be used for in-vitro fertilization.
A spokesperson with the clinic told the post that an estimated 15 percent of the clinic's total number of eggs and embryos were in the damaged tank.
Tipton said he was unaware of similar malfunctions that damaged thousands of eggs and embryos.
"We are so very sorry, we want to do all that we can to support them and we will stand by to answer questions and address them, understanding that we may not have all of those answers right now", DePompei said.
Hospital officials say more than 500 patients were affected, including some that provided samples in the 1980's. Some samples date to the 1980s.
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