This can ‘never ever’ happen again: Cleveland fertility clinic sued over 4,000 lost eggs

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Image: Pacific Fertility Center

Almost two years ago, a freezer malfunction at an Ohio fertility clinic may have destroyed hundreds of patients’ chances at having biological children.

Devastated families spoke out about their grief. Some created a memorial at a cemetery for the 4,000 eggs and embryos lost.

Now, two new lawsuits were filed [February 5] against University Hospitals Fertility Clinic in Cleveland, where the disaster happened.

The plaintiffs include a woman with no children who lost nine frozen eggs, and a couple who were hoping to grow their family but lost five embryos.

“We want to make sure something like this never ever happens again,” attorney Adam Wolf said.

One Saturday night, when the clinic wasn’t staffed, temperatures started to rise in the liquid nitrogen storage tank where more than 4,000 eggs and embryos were stored, University Hospitals said.

Related article:  Will the public embrace CRISPR to 'edit out' birth defects as it has other reproductive technologies?

An investigation revealed the remote alarm system on the tank — designed to alert an employee when the temperature swings — was off.

Even though there are no official regulations governing the freezing of embryos, [Dr. Brian] Levine says the gold standard for clinics is to arm every tank with independent sensors and probes that send audible warnings, such as a beep, as well as text and email alerts.

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