Freezer malfunction leaves more than 2000 frozen eggs and embryos at risk

Mar 11, 2018, 00:58
Freezer malfunction leaves more than 2000 frozen eggs and embryos at risk

The womb-wrenching flub was caused when heat levels unexpectedly rose inside a liquid nitrogen tank at the fertility center, "compromising" up to 2,000 eggs and embryos, DePompei admitted in a Facebook post.

Patti DePompei, president of the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and MacDonald Women's Hospital, said the incident happened sometime after staff left the previous afternoon, per Plain Dealer. She explained that the reasons were being explored but all they could say now was that the temperatures at one part of the storage tank was higher than their acceptable limits.

"Until we know the issue that caused this we will be monitoring the tank 24/7", Liu told Cleveland.com.

IVF light micrograph
IVF light micrograph. More

According to reports, the hospital said it will not destroy any of the eggs or embryos.

More than 2,000 embryos are believed to be compromised affecting at least 700 families, CNN reported, and the hospital said it's notifying patients with letters and phone calls and has set up a hotline for patient concerns.

A University Hospitals spokeswoman said the security increase is because of the, "emotional nature of the situation".

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There is a call center available to answer questions and set up appointments. They have been moved to another cryo tank at the correct temperature. They said in a statement, "Right now, our patients come first". The cryogenic facilities where the eggs are stored are typically monitored with video surveillance and alarm systems.

Approximately 500 to 600 families were affected by the malfunction and University Hospitals have begun the tedious task of reaching out to all the families to see how they wish to proceed. Once thawed the eggs and embryos may not be viable if re-frozen, say experts.

Over the weekend, a malfunction caused the temperature to rise in a storage bank at the University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center.

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Egg freezing has grown in popularity, with more than 6,2000 women going through the procedure in 2015, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

On average, freezing eggs can cost between $12,000 and $14,000.

The process has become cheaper and increasing popular among young women wanting to preserve their fertility.

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