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.
More than two thousand eggs and embryos stored at a fertility clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, may be in danger due to temperature fluctuation.
"It's devastating, it's absolutely devastating", said Patti DePompei, President of University Hospital MacDonald Women's Hospital and Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.
Some of the eggs and embryos had been stored for decades.
According to reports, the hospital said it will not destroy any of the eggs or embryos. "And we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this hard time", said the clinic.
The incident happened last week between Saturday night and Sunday morning when the storage facility was not staffed, hospital administrators told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.More news: U.S. economy adds 313000 jobs in February, crushing expectations
The facility has set up a call center for patients to arrange and appointment or calls to speak with their physicians. They said in a statement, "Right now, our patients come first". All have been moved to another cryo tank at the correct temperature.
Between 500 and 600 patients may be affected by the apparent equipment failure, NBC News reported, while Cleveland.com reported the figure could be as high as 700. However, the only way to know if an embryo is still viable is to thaw and implant it. These eggs are watched over using a video surveillance and an alarm system.
Over the weekend, a malfunction caused the temperature to rise in a storage bank at the University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center. "We will work with our member clinics to help them take any steps needed to ensure such an event never happens again".
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.
With more women deciding on a late motherhood, freezing eggs has become increasingly popular.
The average cost of fertility treatment can be around $10,000 so the financial impact is expected to be significant.