Page URL:

Second freezer failure at US fertility centre

19 March 2018
Appeared in BioNews 942

A second US fertility clinic has reported a malfunction of a tank used to store frozen eggs and embryos.

The Pacific Fertility Centre, in San Francisco, California, said that one of its cryo-storage tanks 'lost liquid nitrogen for a brief period of time' on 4 March, the same weekend that an unrelated clinic in Ohio also had a tank malfunction (see BioNews 941). 

'As soon as the issue was discovered, our most senior embryologists took immediate action to transfer those tissues from the affected equipment to a new piece of equipment,' the centre said in a statement which also contained an apology to patients.

The centre has stressed that only one out of several tanks was affected and that not all samples in that tank have been damaged.

The centre has contacted patients whose eggs and embryos were impacted, but it is unclear in many cases if their samples are still viable or not. For some patients, all of their eggs or embryos were in the same tank, even in the same vial, so they may have lost all their cryopreserved material.

'It’s really quite sad the samples weren't split up,' Dr Nahid Turan at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in Camden, New Jersey, told Wired. 'They were literally putting all the eggs in one basket.'

A class-action lawsuit against the centre has already been launched by law firms Girard Gibbs and Sauder Schelkopf on behalf of patients who have lost eggs and embryos.

'Pacific Fertility Centre was entrusted to preserve and safeguard these eggs and embryos, and it failed. The company must be held accountable for the harm and anxiety it has needlessly caused patients and their families,' said Matthew Schelkopf of Sauder Schelkopf. 

14 June 2021 - by Rachel Siden 
The first trial over a California fertility clinic's cryogenic tank failure concluded by awarding $15 million to five plaintiffs...
2 December 2019 - by Lone Hørlyck 
New Jersey looks set to become the first US state to require licensing and inspection of facilities that store embryos being used for fertility treatment...
30 September 2019 - by Dr Yvonne Collins 
A children's hospital in the USA has reported a malfunction of a freezer used to store the stem cells of cancer patients...
7 May 2019 - by Suzi Denton 
An appeal court in Cleveland, Ohio, has ruled that a couple's embryos lost in a freezer-failure incident last year were not 'living persons', and should not therefore have been treated as patients rather than property...
28 January 2019 - by Georgia Everett 
Eight new lawsuits have been filed this week following the loss of 4000 eggs and embryos when a storage tank in a fertility clinic malfunctioned...
12 March 2018 - by Lone Hørlyck 
A temperature fluctuation in a storage bank has compromised at least 2100 frozen eggs and embryos in a fertility clinic in Cleveland Ohio...
12 February 2018 - by Dr Elizabeth Oliver 
Researchers have grown fully developed human eggs in the laboratory for the first time...
15 January 2018 - by Georgia Everett 
Using fresh embryos in IVF gives the same chance of a live birth as using frozen embryos for ovulatory women, according to two new studies...
6 November 2017 - by Eleanor Taylor 
As a 33-year-old single woman, who also happens to work in a fertility clinic, babies are unsurprisingly never far from my mind. I spend a lot of time wondering whether I should freeze my eggs. A lot...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.