In what appears to be a stunning and heartbreaking coincidence, another fertility clinic said Monday its equipment temporarily failed, possibly damaging hundreds of eggs and embryos.
Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco, California, confirmed that there was a liquid nitrogen failure in a storage tank in the facility. "The clinic has reported the incident to the College of American Pathologists, which certifies labs, and the overseers of California's tissue banks", Herbert said.
Determining any damages owed to the patients could involve looking at the cost of repeating a fertility treatment, which can run up to $15,000, he said, "unless it's the last embryo you could make because one partner is dead".
The equipment was immediately retired and the facility is now operating securely, according to the statement.
The clinic also sent out emails to two other groups of patients about the failure - an estimated 100 patients who had tissue in the problematic tank and another tank, and then a second group whose embryos and eggs remained undamaged.
The nitrogen level in one tank fell very low, according to Dr. Carl Herbert, the fertility clinic's president.
"Anger is a big part of the phone call", Herbert toldthe Post. "Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family". The Ashes said they stored two embryos at a University Hospitals fertility clinic in suburban Cleveland after Elliott's cancer diagnosis in 2003. "We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns", the University Hospitals statement said.
"What is most disturbing to me is that everyone I talked to has been informed by UH that their embryos are not viable, they've been destroyed, different from what has been out there publicly which has been that they've been compromised, we don't know". 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.
Scientists can easily tell by looking through a microscope whether an egg or embryo survived a thaw, said David Ball, another past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. "Right now, our patients and families are our first priority". One, Marc Ellis, wrote, "my wife has eggs at that hospital.shes going insane crying all morning.I don't know what to do".
"It's heartbreaking, just heartbreaking", Amber Ash told WEWS-TV. Hospital officials say the lawsuits will not affect an ongoing investigation into what happened.