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Thousands of embryos and eggs were damaged in incidents involving the Pacific Fertility Clinic, which is located in San Francisco and University Hospitals Fertility Center in Ohio. The liquid nitrogen tanks failed at the clinics, allowing the temperature inside the tanks to rise to levels that are unsafe for the embryos and eggs. Over 4,000 embryos and eggs were damaged, which impacted more than 900 patients and their families. The patients are now grieving a loss of potential children from the incident.
Cryopreservation is the process where the eggs and embryos are frozen to be preserved after they are harvested from the woman. They are kept in tanks filled with liquid nitrogen to keep them viable. The temperatures must stay above a certain level to prevent damage. The director of the laboratory in California noticed the levels had dropped on one of the storage tanks. When the level of the liquid nitrogen drops, the temperature also does. When patients learned of the incident, their hopes of becoming parents were lost. Thousands of embryos and eggs were compromised, leaving families devastated.
Lawsuits are Mounting
Lawsuits are being filed on behalf of patients of both the California and Ohio facilities. These lawsuits are holding the facilities accountable for the losses of thousands of eggs and embryos. These lawsuits are demanding answers to patient’s questions, such as what safeguards were in place to prevent this type of catastrophe. No staff was present at the Ohio facility when the tanks failed, and no one was remotely monitoring the situation. Staff at both clinics were not alerted to the fact that the nitrogen levels were dropping.
The Costs of the Accident
It is expensive to harvest, freeze and then preserve these eggs and embryos with thousands of dollars being spent by patients in an effort to create a family. However, the financial cost is but one component of this incident. The lost hopes and dreams may never be recaptured for some as it was their last chance to have their own biological children.
Prices for harvesting, storing, and fertilization can begin at $10,000 and go up from there, depending on the facility. The initial cycle at Pacific Fertility is over $8000 and almost $7000 per cycle thereafter.
For many of these patients, this procedure was not the first attempt to conceive. They have been down a long road filled with devastation, resulting in an emotional toll for every discouraging issue they face. These patients are angry and hurt at the loss of never being able to have children.The patients at both facilities allege that the staff should have known about the possibility of failure and protections should have been in place to prevent the loss of the embryos and eggs.
Hopes and Dreams Lost
For many of the patients, this was their last hope of adding to their family through a biological child. Some women had their eggs frozen when they were diagnosed with cancer, so they could later have a family. Many of these patients cannot believe such an incident can occur when they worked so hard to reach this point. It’s inconsolable to have their dreams dashed in a single moment.
Both facilities have responded to the issue, but they have not said what caused the failure. Pacific Fertility reported the issue to the overseeing body while an investigation team began analyzing the process. University Hospitals issued an apology and have indicated they are doing all they can to address the failure.
Let Us Help
Patients affected want the facilities to be held accountable for the incident and resulting loss. They are seeking justice through the legal system by filing lawsuits. The patients not only want to hold the facilities accountable for this loss but to ensure it never happens again.
If you have lost eggs or embryos in one of these two incidents, contact us to find out how we can help you. We can tell you about your rights and determine whether you are eligible to seek justice and compensation for your losses.