2nd lawsuit filed over lost embryos at OH fertility clinic


A second fertility clinic says thousands of frozen eggs and embryos may have been jeopardized from a freezer failure.

University Hospitals now faces multiple lawsuits following an incident at its Fertility Clinic that compromised hundreds of eggs and embryos stored in liquid nitrogen. The March 4 incident at Pacific Fertility Clinic, acknowledged Sunday by the facility's president, followed a similar malfunction the same weekend at an unrelated clinic in Cleveland, the University Hospitals Fertility Center.

DiCello Levitt & Casey also filed a class action lawsuit in the same court on behalf of families affected against the UH system, UH Ahuja and UH Cleveland medical centers.

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"It's heartbreaking, just heartbreaking", Amber Ash told WEWS-TV.

The Pennsylvania couple's lawsuit against University Hospitals in Cleveland says they were beginning the process last week of transferring the frozen embryo when they later were told something went wrong. "The medical community calls it tissue. I think this problem is far more serious than has been presented so far", said Team LGM attorney Tom Merriman.

The Ash family welcomed Ethan, now 2-years-old, into their lives through in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, at UH. "The Pennsylvania couple entrusted UHFC with their dreams of having children, as well as their most sensitive and important property: their frozen embryos". They had spent eight years trying to become parents and were devastated, attorney Lydia Floyd said.

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The Pacific Fertility Center said a piece of equipment in its cyro-storage laboratory "lost liquid nitrogen for a brief period of time" on March 4, according to CNN. "At this point, we do not know the viability of all the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted", DePompei said in a video statement posted on Facebook.

The clinic is sending letters to about 500 patients "that may have been involved in this tank", Herbert said.

Dr. Kevin Doody, lab director at the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Texas and past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, told The Associated Press that the almost simultaneous storage failures are "beyond stunning" but appear to be "just a bad, bad, bad coincidence". It has put in place more failsafe measures to prevent a repeat.

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"It's two black swan events happening in the same day", he said. "We were fortunate to have one son that we conceived through IVF, but we've been told that the two remaining embryos did not survive".