Families in flux as thousands of embryos compromised at OH hospital

Egg Freezing

"At this point, we do not know the viability of all of the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted", said Patti DePompei, the president of University Hospital Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, in a Facebook video announcing the news. Some samples that were unfrozen for scheduled procedures this week were not viable. They do not know yet if it was a mechanical malfunction or human error.

'We are investigating a recent incident at our fertility clinic involving an unexpected temperature fluctuation with the tissue storage bank where eggs and embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen, ' it said.

The organization said it has launched an investigation into the cause of the malfunction, bringing in independent experts.

"Clearly the circumstance that happened here is destroying for the families included, and it's staggering for our doctors and our medical attendants and our staff too", said DePompei.

"It's devastating", DePompei told WKYC.

No one was working at the facility overnight Saturday.

Employees were alerted to the problem by an alarm when they arrived for work Sunday morning.

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"We are now looking at what specimens existed in that gradient", Liu told WKYC.

Right now, hospital officials do not know how numerous eggs and embryos are viable, only that a number have been impacted.

Each vile contained two to three eggs or embryos from each patient. We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns. All of the samples have been moved to another tank, which is being monitored at all hours and maintained at the correct temperature.

The hospital may waive the cost of future procedures and treatments for the patients affected, according to WKYC.

The liquid nitrogen freezer held about 2,000 egg and embryo specimens, according to James Liu, chairman of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UH Cleveland Medical Center. "Obviously the situation that occurred here is devastating for the families involved, and it's devastating for. our staff", DePompei tells NBC News.

"Our hearts go out to the patients who have suffered this loss", Sean Tipton, chief policy officer at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ARSM) reportedly said.

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