2000 frozen eggs and embryos possibly 'compromised' after fertility clinic temperature malfunction

10 March, 2018, 01:19 | Author: Inez Murphy
  • University Hospitals is notifying fertility patients that its refrigeration facility which stores eggs and embryos malfunctioned. It's unclear what caused the problem and the hospital is investigating

There has been a recent incident at a fertility clinic - University Hospitals Fertility Center, Cleveland, where the eggs and embryos are stored.

The womb-wrenching flub was caused when heat levels unexpectedly rose inside a liquid nitrogen tank at the fertility center, "compromising" up to 2,000 eggs and embryos, DePompei admitted in a Facebook post.

The viability of all the stored eggs and embryos is also unknown, said Patti DePompei, president of UH's Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and UH MacDonald Women's Hospital. Due to the temperature fluctuation at the facility, the viability of the stored eggs and embryos may be in danger.

'But we do know that the temperature that was measured at a portion of the tank was higher than our acceptable limits'.

DePompei notes the temperature spike took place sometime between Saturday afternoon, when staff left for the day, and early Sunday.

The tank was plugged into the hospital's emergency power supply and was therefore hooked up to a generator, so it did not lose power, De Pompei said, per the Plain Dealer.

The fertility center apologized for the mistake and said it plans to investigate how it happened.

The news came to patients in the form of a letter on Thursday. Hospital staff has set up a call center to arrange meetings or calls between patients and their physicians to address their concerns.

Egg freezing has grown in popularity, with more than 6,2000 women going through the procedure in 2015, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. It's only clear if an egg or embryo is damaged after it's been thawed and implanted. All of the tissue has since been transferred to a working tank.

With more women deciding on a late motherhood, freezing eggs has become increasingly popular. We have initiated an investigation to identify the cause of this event.

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.

"Our hearts go out to the patients who have endured this misfortune", said Sean Tipton, boss strategy officer at ASRM.

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