San Francisco, Cleveland fertility clinics experience rare malfunction on same day

Centers refrigerator malfunctioned a temperature fluctuation that affected hundreds of eggs and embryos

Many patients demanding answers and a lot of them still think how this could happen. The hospital hasn't said whether it would compensate about 700 affected patients, who are being notified through letters and telephone calls.

According to Herbert, the extent to which the chemical failure damaged the eggs and embryos remains unclear. The only way to determine if they've been damaged is to let them thaw, but they can not be frozen again. They have not checked any of the embryos, he said. Dr. Carl Herbert, president and medical director at the center, told ABC News that one of the employees noticed during a routine check of the tanks that the nitrogen level in one tank was very low.

The Ashes are seeking at least $25,000 in damages. Embryos - fertilized eggs - are stored individually. A local law firm stated that it's now flooded with phone calls from patients who want to sue after reported freezer malfunctioned may have made their thousands of eggs and Embryos no longer viable. They amounted to an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the total stored at the facility, according to Pacific Fertility Clinic spokesperson Alden Romney. She says temperatures in one of the two liquid nitrogen tanks storing specimens at University Hospitals' fertility clinic in suburban Cleveland rose above acceptable limits overnight Saturday for unknown reasons.

The clinic has reported the incident to the College of American Pathologists, which regulates labs, and the overseers of California's tissue banks, Herbert said.

In its statement, Pacific Fertility said an independent investigation is in progress and apologized for the incident. Herbert told the Post some of the eggs in the tank had been tested, and were undamaged.

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University Hospitals officials say procedure fees could be waived for future treatment, according to CNN affiliate WEWS. While the staff spent days sorting through records to verify which patients' tissue was inside, he said they do not yet know how many of them were still planning to use it.

One round of in vitro fertilization can cost patients without medical insurance around US$12,000. For patients, the devastating news of that malfunction is now compounded by an agonizing wait to see if their eggs and embryos are still viable. He moved to San Francisco in 1990 and, with colleagues, purchased Pacific Fertility Center nine years later.

"Our clients are absolutely devastated, as I'm sure countless families across OH are in the wake of this catastrophic failure by University Hospitals", lawyer Mark DiCello says in the news release. Some samples date to the 1980s.

"We are truly sorry this happened and for the anxiety that this will surely cause".

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