Thousands of frozen eggs and embryos were likely destroyed when temperatures spiked in a storage tank at a nationally renowned OH fertility clinic, according to hospital officials and reports Friday.
The officials said that one of the long-term storage tank that contained liquid nitrogen had an equipment failure that caused the temperatures to rise temporarily.
Patti DePompei, president of the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and MacDonald Women's Hospital, said the incident happened sometime after staff left the previous afternoon, per Plain Dealer.
DePompei said the temperature fluctuation had occurred "due to reasons unknown" and that the hospital had launched a major investigation to find out what happened.
University Hospitals issued a statement saying independent experts are being consulted to determine the cause of the malfunction.
None of the eggs and embryos impacted by the partial thaw will be destroyed.
'We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns'.
'We will work with our member clinics to help them take any steps needed to ensure such an event never happens again'. It's only clear if an egg or embryo is damaged after it's been thawed and implanted. The frozen eggs and embryos play a crucial part in the whole process, but they have to be stored in certain conditions and at certain temperatures to remain viable. "Right now, our patients and families are our first priority". These eggs are watched over using a video surveillance and an alarm system.
This is a representational image showing a technician opening a vessel containing women's frozen egg cells in Amsterdam, April 6, 2011.
Now at 28, Katelynn considered those 10 eggs and four embryos her future.
Approximately 500 to 600 families were affected by the malfunction and University Hospitals have begun the tedious task of reaching out to all the families to see how they wish to proceed. The costs of freezing eggs is somewhere around $12,000 to $14,000.
With more women deciding on a late motherhood, freezing eggs has become increasingly popular.
"Our hearts go out to the patients who have suffered this loss", Sean Tipton, chief policy officer at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ARSM) reportedly said.