Security increased at UH Ahuja Fertility Center after egg, embryo freezer malfunction

Liquid nitrogen cryogenic tank at life sciences laboratory

Liquid nitrogen cryogenic tank at life sciences laboratory Getty Images

"We are so very sorry this happened and we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this very hard time", DePompei said a video posted on Facebook Thursday.

DePompei said hospital staff have consulted with numerous experts to "better understand the cause of this temperature fluctuation and ensure that it doesn't happen again". "We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns", University Hospitals said in a statement. While the extent of the loss is still unclear, the hospital informed about 700 patients that their frozen eggs and embryos may have suffered damage.

"Clearly the circumstance that happened here is destroying for the families included, and it's staggering for our doctors and our medical attendants and our staff too", said DePompei. "Right now, our patients and families are our first priority".

The eggs and embryos have been moved to a different cryotank in the meantime, but their viability remains questionable. These eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and taken to a laboratory where they are cooled to subzero temperatures in a liquid nitrogen tank. Some of these eggs and embryos have been stored in there for decades. The cryogenic facilities where the eggs are stored are typically monitored with video surveillance and alarm systems.

Egg freezing has grown in popularity, with more than 6,2000 women going through the procedure in 2015, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Hundreds of patients at University Hospitals Fertility Center are dealing with some devastating news.


University Hospitals is considering waiving fees for any future procedures for anyone who had eggs or embryos stored, according to WEWS future.

The only way to check if an egg or embryo is viable is to thaw it, which is only done when it is to be used imminently.

"We are so very sorry this happened".

On average, freezing eggs can cost between $12,000 and $14,000.

"Our hearts go out to the patients who have endured this misfortune", said Sean Tipton, boss strategy officer at ASRM.

The process has become cheaper and increasing popular among young women wanting to preserve their fertility.

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