Two fertility clinics across the country from each other experienced equipment failures on the same day that may have damaged hundreds of frozen eggs and embryos, something that a fertility expert called a stunning coincidence and that is already producing lawsuits from crestfallen couples. The unexplained rise in temperatures in a liquid nitrogen tank, first reported Thursday by The Cleveland Plain Dealer, occurred sometime late Saturday or Sunday morning at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center's suburban fertility clinic.
Lawyers for the couples who went to the OH clinic are seeking class action status, which would require approval from a judge.
Herbert told the Post his discussions with patients were emotional. "Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family".
Dr Carl Herbert, president of the facility, said doctors called patients on Saturday to inform them of the failure.
Cleveland law firm Peiffer Rosca Wolf Abdullah Carr & Kane (PRW) has filed a class action lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas Cuyahoga County on behalf of a Pennsylvania couple and another estimated 700 victims.
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. It was the second such failure at a USA clinic in a matter of days.
Last week, an OH hospital said more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged due to a refrigerator malfunction.
The clinics in San Francisco and Cleveland both say storage tanks didn't keep specimens at the required super-cold temperatures for several hours. Some of these have been stored for decades.
Here's the latest on the equipment failures at fertility clinics in California and OH (all times Eastern): 2:45 p.m.
It is the second clinic to report a fault that weekend.
Kate and Jeremy Plants said they began treatments after Kate was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015 and had five embryos stored in the compromised tank.
The eggs and embryos have been moved to a different cryotank in the meantime, but their viability remains questionable. "We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns", the University Hospitals statement said.
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. According to The Post, the process of removing and freezing a woman's eggs can cost more than $10,000, plus yearly storage fees.