Thousands of frozen eggs and embryos were likely destroyed when temperatures spiked in a storage tank at a nationally renowned OH fertility clinic, according to hospital officials and reports Friday. The equipment reportedly failed last month due to which the temperature inside the refrigerator storing the eggs became warmer than it should.
Patti DePompei, president of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and MacDonald Women's Hospital, calls the situation "absolutely devastating". "But we do know that the temperature that was measured at a portion of the tank was higher than our acceptable limits". Independent experts will assess the situation and help University Hospitals understand what happened and how it can handle the situation.
She added: 'Right now, our patients come first.
DePompei said the hospital sent letters to all the affected patients on Tuesday morning, after verifying current addresses. "And we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this hard time", said the clinic. "We have already initiated contact with all of our patients to inform them and respond to their questions, and set up a designated call center to arrange personal meetings or calls with their physicians", UH said in the statement.
In the egg-freezing process, the ovaries are stimulated with hormones to produce multiple eggs. There has been a temperature fluctuation that may have damaged the stored eggs they said.
In order to see if the egg or embryo is still viable, it has to be thawed out and implanted.
University Hospitals Fertility Center is responsible for the births of thousands of babies.
On Friday, the fertility center had informed about 700 patients that their eggs and embryos may have been destroyed.
On average, freezing eggs can cost between $12,000 and $14,000.
'Our hearts go out to the patients who have suffered this loss, ' said ASRM's chief policy officer, Sean Tipton, to NBC News.