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.
Hospital officials say more than 500 patients were affected, including some that provided samples in the 1980's.
The failure resulted in the temperature in the tank becoming warmer than it should be, which means numerous eggs and embryos in the tank may no longer be viable, according to Patti DePompei, president, UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.
The tanks have multiple monitors and sensors that should set off alarms if there's a temperature flux.
The specimens were not in a dated order.
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The damaged eggs are a crushing blow to patients, including women who planned to donate their eggs, hoped to delay a pregnancy or were storing embryos while undergoing in vitro fertilization.
Patients are encouraged to call the hotline at 216-286-9740, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. though 1 p.m. We have already initiated contact with all of our patients to inform them and respond to their questions, and set up a designated call center to arrange personal meetings or calls with their physicians.
Right now, our patients come first.
The problem lies in trying to figure out whether the eggs or embryos are still viable. The FDA, Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) and CDC are responsible for CLIA, which regulates lab testing and requires state certification. At that time, all of the equipment and technology was new.
How numerous eggs and embryos are no longer viable.
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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.
The cost of fixing this disaster.
The average cost of fertility treatment can be around $10,000 so the financial impact is expected to be significant.
'We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns'.
"We are so very sorry this happened".
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