Freezer malfunction leaves more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos at risk
CLEVELAND — More than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos have been left compromised at a Cleveland fertility clinic after a malfunction caused temperatures to drop last weekend in the freezers where they were stored.
Temperatures unexpectedly fluctuated in the liquid nitrogen storage bank at the University Hospitals Fertility Clinic where the eggs and embryos were stored, according to a University Hospitals statement.
The organization said it has launched an investigation into the cause of the malfunction, bringing in independent experts.
The eggs and embryos have been moved to a different cryotank in the meantime, but their viability remains questionable.
“We are incredibly sorry this happened. We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns,” the University Hospitals statement said.
The error has affected about 700 families who have been notified of the situation.
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 cannot be refrozen.
The facility has set up a call center for patients to arrange and appointment or calls to speak with their physicians.
“At this point, we do not know the viability of all of the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted,” said Patti DePompei, president of UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, in a video posted Thursday on Facebook. “Right now, our patients and families are our first priority.”
People have been sharing personal concerns on the hospital’s Facebook post. One, Marc Ellis, wrote, “my wife has eggs at that hospital…shes going crazy crying all morning…i dont know what to do….”
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.