Fertility centers address egg and embryo storage error

Some eggs and embryos at a San Francisco fertility center may no longer be viable after a storage tank malfunction. The Pacific Fertility Center said a piece of equipment in its cyro-storage laboratory

When WJZ spoke to Elliott and Amber Ash last week, they were devastated their frozen embryos at Ahuja Medical Center outside Cleveland might be destroyed.

Immediately upon discovering the temperature increase March 4, the lab director transferred the jeopardized eggs to a spare 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.

Meanwhile, a nitrogen storage container at Pacific Fertility Center in California also malfunctioned on March 4, putting thousands of frozen embryos and eggs in danger.

Sean Tipton who is the association's chief policy, advocacy and development officer tells,"We can't say definitively nothing like this has ever happened, but we are certainly not aware of anything". More than 400 patients may have been affected, clinic representatives said.

In order to check viability, the eggs and embryos have to be thawed and then implanted.

A second lawsuit has been filed by a family that says their frozen embryos were destroyed by a malfunction at a fertility center in Ohio.

The lawsuits are a result of the potential loss of more than 2,000 eggs and embryos at UH's Fertility Center two weekends ago.

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. "This was a bad incident", Herbert said, "but I was reassured that.he did everything anybody could ever want to do".

University Hospitals - which runs the fertility clinic - released a statement apologizing for the incident and promising to help patients in any way possible. They said they were told over the weekend that their embryos are no longer viable. While the staff spent days sorting through records to verify which patients' tissue was inside, he said they do not yet know how many of them were still planning to use it.

According to the Pacific Fertility website, egg-freezing costs $8,345 for the first round and $6,995 for each subsequent round. Once they are thawed, they can't be refrozen.

"We just want to hold UH accountable, that they should make this right", said UH patient Kate Plants.

Herbert is a longtime physician and researcher in assisted reproductive technology.

Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco is seen in this Google maps undated image.

At least two class-action lawsuits have now been filed against an OH hospital following a storage bank malfunction that potentially destroyed as many as 2,000 eggs and embryos.

Hospital officials said in a statement on Thursday that they were investigating the incident and that it remained unknown whether the cause there was a human error or mechanical failure.