Medical

San Francisco, Cleveland fertility clinics experience rare malfunction on same day

San Francisco, Cleveland fertility clinics experience rare malfunction on same day

Some eggs and embryos at a San Francisco fertility center may no longer be viable after a storage tank malfunction.

Hundreds of patients whose eggs or embryos were stored in the tank for future use have been notified, said a spokesman for the Pacific Fertility Clinic.

The March 4 incident at Pacific Fertility Clinic, acknowledged Sunday by the facility's president, followed a similar malfunction the same weekend at an unrelated clinic in Cleveland, the University Hospitals Fertility Center.

DiCello Levitt & Casey is conducting investigations of potential similar lawsuits at clinics across the country, including a San Francisco facility that experienced a similar malfunction earlier this month, according to a news release.

The eggs and embryos have been moved to a different cryotank in the meantime, but their viability remains questionable. The hospital hasn't said whether it would compensate about 700 affected patients, who are being notified through letters and telephone calls.

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. 'Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family.




The hospital started contacting each of the families last week to determine how they would like to proceed with their eggs and embryos. Too little liquid nitrogen causes the temperature to rise, with a risk of damage to the tissue housed in vials called cryolocks. According to ABC News, the tank at Pacific Fertility Center in California had a temperature fluctuation with the inventory of egg and embryo assets. Another filled tank replaced it, and the tissue specimens were transferred. Herbert told the Post some of the eggs in the tank had been tested, and were undamaged.

UH reported the incident to federal regulators that monitor fertility clinics known as CLIA, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments.

"Anger is a big part of the phone call", Herbert told the Post.

The couple received notification of the failure on Friday and over the weekend, were told by physicians that their embryos are no longer viable. If they are not, he said, "we are going to make our patients happy one way or another".

An Ohio family has filed a class action lawsuit against the hospital where officials estimate about 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged by a storage tank malfunction.

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. Some dated to the 1980s.


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