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2 fertility clinic failures 'beyond stunning'

14 March 2018

Thousands of frozen eggs and embryos are potentially damaged after mechanical problems at fertility clinics in both Cleveland and San Francisco.

Here are some questions and answers about the two cases.

The lawsuit alleges that University Hospitals failed to properly monitor the liquid nitrogen storage tank containing the frozen embryos and eggs; failed to implement appropriate policies and procedures to protect the embryos and eggs from any environmental control malfunctions of the storage tanks/freezers; and failed to maintain the human embryos and/or eggs in a usable form and condition as required under the contract they entered with their patients. The medical center apologized.

The incident came in the wake of a similar storage tank malfunction the same weekend at University Hospitals Fertility Center, an unrelated clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Dr Kevin Doody is lab director at the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Texas and past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.

After rounds of surgery, she is unable to carry a pregnancy, she said, but two relatives have offered to be surrogates once everyone is ready. While each clinic is different, news of the failure of the tanks at two separate facilities in California and OH has rattled the fertility industry. "One of them causes the beehive to buzz. Two?"

The family also says the hospital did not notify them of the issue for almost a week. We are bringing in independent experts to ensure we understand all aspects of this occurrence and do everything possible to address the situation.

"We all need to know what has happened", she said. "And. just after she was diagnosed, before she underwent surgery, she. she went through the process of harvesting eggs and creating embryos and freezing them, and that was her only chance", Merriman said.

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If doctors were to implant a damaged embryo, it might not lead to a pregnancy, but if it did, it would not raise the danger of birth defects in the child, Ball said. He says the clinic is sending letters to about 500 patients "that may have been involved in this tank". Malfunctions at fertility clinics in Cleveland and San Francisco have some people wondering could the same thing could happen in West Michigan.

University Hospitals spokesman Mike Ferrari declined to comment beyond an official statement released last week. The politics surrounding abortion have made federal regulation too tricky, said George Annas, a medical ethicist at the Boston University School of Public Health.

The hope and ultimate goal with the lawsuit, the family said, is to make sure another family doesn't feel the same loss ever again.

The lawsuits are a result of the potential loss of more than 2,000 eggs and embryos at UH's Fertility Center two weekends ago.

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The patients will have to prove negligence, Annas said. If you have embryos or eggs frozen or are thinking about it, it's important to ask about the safeguards in place before you make the expensive decision.

2 fertility clinic failures 'beyond stunning'