Thousands of frozen eggs, embryos possibly damaged at OH hospital

Thousands of frozen eggs, embryos possibly damaged at OH hospital

She says the temperature in one of the two large freezers preserving specimens at the UH Fertility Center near Cleveland rose above acceptable limits overnight Saturday for unknown reasons. Some of the samples were provided in the 1980s.

The hospital said in its statement that "independent experts" will look into how the mistake occurred and how it can be prevented in the future.

It's unclear whether employees or a mechanical glitch caused the screw-up.

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. Storage for embryos also cost hundreds of dollars from year to year but have shown to last in the freezer process for decades. And for some families, the treatment is their only chance at conceiving a child. Some samples that were unfrozen for scheduled procedures this week were not viable.

"It's devastating", DePompei told WKYC.

An alarm alerted employees when they arrived at work Sunday that the temperature had risen in the liquid nitrogen tank.

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There appears to have been an equipment failure at a long-term storage tank containing liquid nitrogen at the University Hospitals Fertility Center, NBC News reported.

The problem lies in trying to figure out whether the eggs or embryos are still viable.

DePompei said the hospital sent letters to all the affected patients on Tuesday morning, after verifying current addresses. Hospital staff has set up a call center to arrange meetings or calls between patients and their physicians to address their concerns.

USA Today reported the status of the 2,000 eggs and embryos was still not clear.

"We are investigating a recent incident at our fertility clinic involving an unexpected temperature fluctuation in the storage bank", University Hospitals said in a statement released on Facebook with a video from DePompei.

"Our hearts go out to the patients who have suffered this loss", Sean Tipton, chief policy officer at ASRM, told NBC News.

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