2000 frozen eggs and embryos possibly 'compromised' after fertility clinic temperature malfunction

University Hospitals

Patti DePompei, president of UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, told NBC News this malfunction may have caused damage to numerous eggs and embryos - some of which have been stored for decades. They do not know yet if it was a mechanical malfunction or human error.

The temperature in one of the site's two liquid nitrogen tanks storing specimens at University Hospitals' UH Fertility Center in suburban Cleveland rose above acceptable limits overnight Saturday, according to the Plain Dealer.

The hospital said it's conferring with experts about why the storage tank malfunctioned.

Despite the fact that the cost of egg solidifying has descended as of late, the expenses can run from at any rate $12,000 to $14,000 for a lady to experience the methodology. An American Society for Reproductive Medicine rep says nothing like this has ever happened at a United States fertility clinic. Dr. James Liu, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at UH Cleveland Medical Center, told Cleveland.com that so far the affected eggs and embryos that were thawed because of already scheduled medical procedures this week were not viable.

Embryologists who arrived at the center on Sunday morning were alerted by an alarm that the temperature of the tank had increased, administrators told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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"We are now looking at what specimens existed in that gradient", Liu told WKYC. These are still preserved and would not be destroyed, the hospital said in a statement.

More than 2,000 embryos are believed to be compromised affecting at least 700 families, CNN reported, and the hospital said it's notifying patients with letters and phone calls and has set up a hotline for patient concerns.

It is unknown at this time how much it will cost to fix this, with University Hospitals saying it could mean procedure fees would be waived for future treatment, according to WEWS.

The eggs and embryos have been moved to a different cryotank in the meantime, but their viability remains questionable.

"Our hearts go out to the patients who have suffered this loss", Sean Tipton, chief policy officer at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ARSM) reportedly said.

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