Monday, 20 August, 2018

Freezing failure at SF fertility clinic; eggs may be damaged

In vitro fertilization Family whose embryos are no longer viable files lawsuit against UH: 'It's a tremendous loss'
Ben Pena | 13 March, 2018, 01:26

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.

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.

Dr. Carl Herbert, president of Pacific Fertility Clinic, told the Washington Post on Sunday that officials have informed some 400 patients of the failure that occurred March 4. The number of eggs and embryos affected was not disclosed.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Robert DiCello of DiCello, Levitt & Casey, is on behalf of Amber and Elliott Ash, who had two embryos stored with UH. 'Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family. The hospital hasn't said whether it would compensate about 700 affected patients, who are being notified through letters and telephone calls. In the case in OH, the facility said the only way to determine the viability of the eggs and the embryos of 700 patients is to fully thaw them.

Regarding the incident, a hospital spokesperson explained the temperature of the tissue storage bank where eggs and embryos were housed in liquid nitrogen fluctuated unexpectedly. Too little liquid nitrogen causes the temperature to rise, with a risk of damage to the tissue housed in vials called cryolocks.

According to Herbert, once the failure was discovered, the lab director immediately had a spare storage tank brought into the lab and filled with liquid nitrogen, so that the eggs and embryos could be transferred.

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UH reported the incident to federal regulators that monitor fertility clinics known as CLIA, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. "This was a bad incident", Herbert said, "but I was reassured that ... he did everything anybody could ever want to do".

According to the Pacific Fertility website, egg-freezing costs $8,345 for the first round and $6,995 for each subsequent round.

The clinic is uncertain how numerous eggs and embryos are damaged, he said, and can't be used for in-vitro fertilization.

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

The couple received notification of the failure on Friday and over the weekend, were told by physicians that their embryos are no longer viable. UH officials say the lawsuit will not affect an ongoing independent review into the malfunction. Some samples date to the 1980s.

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