More lawsuits filed against University Hospitals over fertility clinic disaster

Share

A second fertility clinic says thousands of frozen eggs and embryos may have been jeopardized from a freezer failure.

The March 4 incident, which was made public March 11, follows a similar malfunction that occurred the same weekend at a fertility clinic at Beachwood, Ohio-based University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center. "Everyone who has talked to their doctor has been told 'your embryos are not viable.' It appears this is far more catastrophic than what was originally reported". Too little liquid nitrogen causes the temperature to rise, with a risk of damage to the tissue housed in vials called cryolocks.

The Ash family welcomed Ethan, now 2-years-old, into their lives through in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, at UH.

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. "I think something that sensitive and that precious, they should have had fail safes and fail safes and fail safes".

"With this lawsuit, we will get answers and stop this from happening again", said Mark DiCello, an attorney for the Ashes.

Attorneys for the Pennsylvania couple say they spent eight years trying to have a baby and are devastated by the loss.

More news: SU women's basketball No. 8 seed in NCAA Tournament

On March 10, Pacific Fertility staff began notifying more than 400 patients who had all of their eggs or embryos stored in the affected tank and roughly 100 more patients who had about half of their eggs in the affected storage tank.

In the earlier incident Ohio, UH officials notified about 700 patients that their frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged. Dr. Carl Herbert, president and medical director at the center, told ABC News that one of the employees noticed during a routine check of the tanks that the nitrogen level in one tank was very low. The clinic also has brought in a multidiscplinary team to investigate the tank itself and "every aspect that involves cryopreservation", he said.

"As soon as the issue was discovered, our most senior embryologists took immediate action to transfer those tissues from the affected equipment to a new piece of equipment".

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

Dr. Kevin Doody, lab director at the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Texas and past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, told The Associated Press that the almost simultaneous storage failures are "beyond stunning" but appear to be "just a bad, bad, bad coincidence". "One of them causes the beehive to buzz. Two?"

Share