Families in flux as thousands of embryos compromised at OH hospital

Fertility clinic disaster may have destroyed thousands of frozen eggs embryos

The incident is under investigation and hospital administrators say they don't know what caused a temperature fluctuation in the liquid nitrogen storage bank that held eggs and embryos for patients of the fertility center.

'We don't know the reasons why yet, ' Patti DePompei, President of the UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, told NBC News. At this time, we don't yet know the viability of these eggs and embryos.

"We are so very sorry this happened and we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this very hard time", DePompei said a video posted on Facebook Thursday. Independent experts will assess the situation and help University Hospitals understand what happened and how it can handle the situation.

None of the eggs and embryos impacted by the partial thaw will be destroyed. "And we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this hard time", said the clinic.

There is a call center available to answer questions and set up appointments.

The dilemma for those involved is that their eggs and embryos have to be completely thawed to determine whether they are still viable, but if thawed, they can not be refrozen.

University Clinic adds that it plans on doing the right thing by its patients and their families, but doesn't go into detail as to what that would entail. They have been moved to another cryo tank at the correct temperature.

In comments underneath the video message, people expressed frustration and heartbreak at the potential loss of the embryos and eggs, which represented not only a significant financial and medical commitment, but the hope of expanding families.

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.

Approximately 500 to 600 families were affected by the malfunction and University Hospitals have begun the tedious task of reaching out to all the families to see how they wish to proceed.

On average, freezing eggs can cost between $12,000 and $14,000.

DePompei stated: 'We are working very very carefully to determine how we can best support them through the process'.