UH Fertility Clinic investigating failure involving eggs and embryos

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Hundreds of families' dreams of having a baby using frozen eggs or embryos may have been dashed due to a storage tank malfunction at an OH fertility center.

The University Hospital Fertility Center in Cleveland has a long-term storage tank containing liquid nitrogen that suffered equipment failure over the weekend.

Patti DePompei, president of UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, told NBC News this malfunction may have caused damage to numerous eggs and embryos - some of which have been stored for decades. Sometimes eggs are stored in such process for decades. It remains to be seen whether patients whose tissue was in the freezer will still be expected to pay, DePompei told NBC News. "But we do know that the temperature that was measured at a portion of the tank was higher than our acceptable limits".

The hospital has consulted with a number of experts to better understand the cause of the temperature fluctuation and "ensure it doesn't happen again", she added.

University Hospitals is considering waiving fees for any future procedures for anyone who had eggs or embryos stored, according to WEWS future. "And we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this hard time", said the clinic.

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"We are incredibly sorry this happened", the hospital said in a statement. 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.

Right now, our patients come first. These eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and taken to a laboratory where they are cooled to subzero temperatures in a liquid nitrogen tank. These eggs are watched over using a video surveillance and an alarm system. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ARSM), as many as 6200 women froze their eggs in 2015.

Samples would have to be thawed to determine whether they've been damaged.

With more women deciding on a late motherhood, freezing eggs has become increasingly popular.

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

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