Hundreds of families had to deal with devastating news this week when an Ohio fertility clinic malfunctioned, causing many to lose their chance at having children and starting new families of their own. The incident resulted in more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos being compromised, according to CNN.
The freezer malfunction happened at University Hospitals Fertility Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Officials announced it on Thursday, March 8th, saying that an “unexpected temperature fluctuation” within the storage bank caused temps to drop drastically, impacting several embryos. The eggs and embryos were moved to a different cryotank, but their viability is questionable. Most of the details surrounding what happened and why haven’t been released, as the incident is still being investigated. The clinic released a statement, saying,
About 700 families have been affected and they are, as expected, devastated. For many, this was their only remaining hope at having children. At this point, there are still many questions and very few answers. The eggs and embryos have to be completely thawed to determine whether they are still viable, but once they are thawed, they cannot be refrozen. As a result, the clinic has set up a call center for patients to arrange an appointment or to speak with physicians.
Many patients are speaking out about this experience online, specifically on the clinic’s Facebook page. The clinic sent out letters to patients to explain what happened, but it appears that there is still confusion.
The comments from patients are heartbreaking.
One user, Amber Ash, commented, “We had 2 embryos involved. I’m angry that this was made public prior to all those effected receiving letters. While I expect financial compensation, I can’t begin to tell you how sick I feel. There is so much grief and a lack of control in the world of infertility and this compounds it.”
User Ashley Aichholz was one of the patients who completely lost hope of having a child thanks to the malfunction. She wrote, “My last embryo was in there. I have to wait until Thursday for a call from Dr. Rossi. Can’t stop crying!”
Betty Jacobs commented, “I had 2 frozen embryos. I got the letter on Friday and called, they said I am part of the group that has been compromised. Dr. Liu is supposed to call me Monday at 11:30. Dr. Goldfarb is my doctor, but I told them I would speak to anyone who had answers ASAP. She said the doctor would talk to me about my options. I replied ‘I HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS!!!’ Those were it!!! I don’t even know how to handle this. Those embryos were perfect when they were frozen. Embryologist said they looked absolutely perfect. All for what, it’s all gone!!!”
Our hearts are breaking for those who lost their last chance at having a child because this fertility clinic malfunctioned. We hope for the best for everyone involved.