2nd lawsuit filed over lost embryos at OH fertility clinic

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

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

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

Egg freezing has grown in popularity, with an estimated 20,000 USA women who have had the procedure, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. For many of them, costly and invasive In-Vitro Fertilization treatments were their last hope of having biological children.

While the extent of the damage in both scenarios is unclear, the potential damage to eggs in both incidents would be a financial and emotional blow to the fertility patients, including women storing embryos, women donating their eggs and women seeking to delay a pregnancy.

In order to check viability, the eggs and embryos have to be thawed and then implanted.

That embryologist, Herbert said, "immediately rectified" the problem by refilling the tank. "Anger is a big part of the phone call", Herbert said of his discussions with patients. "Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family".

The hospital issued an apology after the unexplained malfunction caused temperatures inside the storage tank to rise. The clinic in San Francisco said it will write to the 500 patients that may have been involved in the tank incident. That's when the clinic performed an "emergency filling", where the tank with depleted levels of liquid nitrogen was refilled.

The Pennsylvania couple's lawsuit against University Hospitals in Cleveland says they were beginning the process last week of transferring the frozen embryo when they later were told something went wrong.

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A spokesperson with the clinic told the post that an estimated 15 percent of the clinic's total number of eggs and embryos were in the damaged tank. Staff members at the clinic then spent days going through patient records to verify which patients were affected. "This was a bad incident", Herbert said, "but I was reassured that.he did everything anybody could ever want to do".

According to the clinic's website, its fees for egg freezing are $8,345 for the initial cycle and $6,995 for each subsequent round.

Samples would need to be unthawed to determine whether they've been damaged.

"We just want to hold UH accountable, that they should make this right", said UH patient Kate Plants.

Herbert is a longtime physician and researcher in assisted reproductive technology.

More lawsuits have been filed against University Hospitals for the disaster that left thousands of eggs and embryos compromised. Some dated to the 1980s. Hospital officials say the lawsuits will not affect an ongoing investigation into what happened.

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