Malfunction Leads to Loss of Frozen Eggs, Embryos

Right now, hospital officials do not know how numerous eggs and embryos are viable, only that a number have been impacted. Some people had multiple samples stored, and some eggs and embryos have been stored since the 1980s. The hospital began notifying patients Tuesday.

The reason for the malfunction is still unknown.

The damaged eggs are a crushing blow to patients, including women who planned to donate their eggs, hoped to delay a pregnancy or were storing embryos while undergoing in vitro fertilization. And for some families, the treatment is their only chance at conceiving a child.

It is exacerbated by the fact that the only way to determine if the specimens are viable is to thaw them, Liu told the Plain Dealer.

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

The storage facility was not staffed overnight Saturday.

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

The incident comes as a growing number of women choose to freeze their eggs due to illness, or because they are concerned that the quality and quantity of their eggs will drop over time.

Each vile contained two to three eggs or embryos from each patient. Some of these eggs and embryos have been stored in there for decades.

The hospital may waive the cost of future procedures and treatments for the patients affected, according to WKYC. Per a University Hospitals statement cited by News 5 Cleveland, the facility has "initiated contact with all of our patients", and a call center has been set up so patients can set up meetings with doctors.

The temperature of the tissue storage bank, where eggs and embryos are housed in liquid nitrogen, unexpectedly fluctuated, the hospital system said on Thursday. "Obviously the situation that occurred here is devastating for the families involved, and it's devastating for. our staff", DePompei tells NBC News.

  • Aubrey Nash