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Fertility Treatment Risks

A malfunction at a fertility clinic in Ohio may have damaged thousands of eggs and embryos

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An egg freezing facility in Cleveland, Ohio suffered a major malfunction potentially losing out on 2,100 frozen eggs and embryos, according to WKYC in Cleveland.

Between the overnight hours of Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4, one of the egg and embryo liquid nitrogen storage tanks at the University Hospital Fertility Center began warming up.

The refrigerator malfunction caused the temperature to rise, ultimately making the eggs and embryos at the facility lose their viability.

“We don't know the reasons why yet, but we do know that the temperature that was measured at a portion of the tank was higher than our acceptable limits,” said Patti DePompei, president, UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.

The temperature increase may have impacted more than 2,000 vials of eggs and embryos, affecting more than 500 patients, according to NBC News.

"As a result, many of the eggs and embryos — some of which have been stored for decades — may no longer be viable, "DePompei told NBC News.

Approximately 500 to 600 families were affected by the malfunction.

The hospital says it will not destroy any of the eggs or embryos.

But the only way to know if an egg or embryo is still viable, is to thaw and implant it; so University Hospitals has started to reach out to all the affected families to figure out how they would like to reach out.

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“We are still in the process of looking at what actually happened to the monitoring and temperature sensors. We've actually engaged an outside expert to analyze and drill down to see what actually happened,” said Dr. James Liu, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital.

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