Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Family sues over lost embryos at fertility clinic

Family sues over lost embryos at fertility clinic

The San Francisco fertility clinic declined to say how many eggs and embryos had been affected but said a malfunctioning tank contained "several thousand" eggs and embryos. The unexplained rise in temperatures in a liquid nitrogen tank, first reported Thursday by The Cleveland Plain Dealer, occurred sometime late Saturday or Sunday morning at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center's suburban fertility clinic.

More families are suing University Hospitals after eggs and embryos they had stored at the University Hospitals Fertility Clinic were jeopardized.

"It's heartbreaking, just heartbreaking", Amber Ash told WEWS-TV.

"Never in their worst nightmares does that embryo become not viable because of conduct or misconduct of the clinic", Wolf said.

"I think that there is just a lot of anger and hurt in the infertility community right now about this".

The Ash family welcomed Ethan, now 2-years-old, into their lives through in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, at UH. "With this lawsuit, we aim to get some answers".

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. They had spent eight years trying to become parents and were devastated, attorney Lydia Floyd said.

After their son was born in 2015, doctors told Amber Ash that she should not undergo another pregnancy, so she and her husband froze embryos in the hopes of conceiving a child through a surrogate pregnancy.

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The Pacific Fertility Center said a piece of equipment in its cyro-storage laboratory "lost liquid nitrogen for a brief period of time" on March 4.

That embryologist, Herbert said, "immediately rectified" the problem by refilling the tank.

Kate and Jeremy Plants said they began treatments after Kate was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015 and had five embryos stored in the compromised tank. He says the clinic is sending letters to about 500 patients "that may have been involved in this tank".

A fertility expert says that the almost simultaneous storage failures at two fertility clinics across the country from each other are "beyond stunning" but that it appears to be just a coincidence.

He says the clinic has put in place more failsafe measures to prevent a repeat.

"It's two black swan events happening in the same day", he said.

The industry in the long run will end up being safer because there will be investigations and other facilities will examine their own backup measures and alarm systems, he said.

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