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University Hospitals may face second lawsuit over eggs, embryo freezer malfunction

13 March 2018, 01:25 | Winifred Adams

ABC News The Pacific Fertility Center's refrigerator malfunctioned a temperature fluctuation that affected hundreds of eggs and embryos

Centers refrigerator malfunctioned a temperature fluctuation that affected hundreds of eggs and embryos

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.

University Hospitals now faces multiple lawsuits following an incident at its Fertility Clinic that compromised hundreds of eggs and embryos stored in liquid nitrogen.

Lawsuits are piling up against University Hospitals Fertility Center in Cleveland, after more than 600 women and couples were informed their frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged.

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.

"At this point, we do not know the viability of all the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted", DePompei said in a video statement posted on Facebook. The hospital hasn't said whether it would compensate about 700 affected patients, who are being notified through letters and telephone calls. "Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family".

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The University Hospital Fertility Center in Cleveland has a long-term storage tank containing liquid nitrogen that suffered equipment failure. "The medical community calls it tissue, I like to think of it as my children". Pacific Fertility said in a statement that "the vast majority of the eggs and embryos in the lab were unaffected, and the facility is operating securely". "This was a awful incident", Herbert said, "but I was reassured that ... he did everything anybody could ever want to do".

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

The clinic also sent out emails to two other groups of patients about the failure - an estimated 100 patients who had tissue in the problematic tank and another tank, and then a second group whose embryos and eggs remained undamaged.

According to the Pacific Fertility website, egg-freezing costs $8,345 for the first round and $6,995 for each subsequent round. If they are not, he said, "we are going to make our patients happy one way or another".

"There is nothing worse than being told these embryos you worked so hard to create, and invested so much of your time and your physical self and emotional self and the financial piece, they're gone, they're gone in an instant", Ash said. Some samples date to the 1980s. UH officials say the lawsuit will not affect an ongoing independent review into the malfunction.



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