March 21, 2018

Frozen Eggs, Embryos No Longer Viable After Hospital Mishap?

09 March 2018, 09:53 | Lena Norman

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

UH Fertility Clinic investigating failure involving eggs and embryos

There have been no threats, said hospital officials.

Hundreds of families received troubling news this week after an unprecedented "malfunction" at a Cleveland egg-freezing facility. This could be heart-breaking for around 500 to 600 families, say the officials.

The storage tank had off-site monitoring and an audible alarm that would alert staff to such a temperature change. Some of these have been stored for decades. The problem was discovered Sunday morning and happened some time after staff left the previous afternoon, according to Patti DePompei, president of UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and MacDonald Women's Hospital.

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

Frozen eggs and embryos from about 700 fertility patients may not be viable after a liquid nitrogen freezer at a Cleveland hospital malfunctioned, raising the temperature in a storage tank. These eggs are watched over using a video surveillance and an alarm system.

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'Obviously the situation that occurred here is devastating for the families involved, and it's devastating for our physicians and our nurses and our staff as well, ' added DePompei.

The UH is bringing in experts to look into the matter. "Right now, our patients and families are our first priority". An American Society for Reproductive Medicine rep says nothing like this has ever happened at a USA fertility clinic. "We are committed to getting answers and working with our patients individually to address their concerns". 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.

The hospital has asked patients or those with questions to call the UH Fertility Center information line at 216-286-9740. The healing center says it won't annihilate any of the eggs or embryos and has moved them to a working tank.

In order to see if the egg or embryo is still viable, it has to be thawed out and implanted. These are still preserved and would not be destroyed, the hospital said in a statement.

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