Seven hundred families in Ohio received devastating news in early March. A piece of important equipment at the University Hospitals Fertility Clinic malfunctioned, affecting 2,000 human eggs and embryos. For many Cleveland couples who have been struggling with fertility issues, these living tissues were their last chance to have children of their own.
The only way to find out if any of the eggs or embryos are still viable is to thaw them. However, once thawed, they cannot be refrozen. Some couples have already been informed that their embryos are unusable.
According to University Hospitals, there was a temperature fluctuation in a liquid nitrogen storage bank. Officials at the clinic do not know what caused the temperature change. They also don’t know how long the problem went unnoticed. An investigation by outside experts is underway.
What options do mourning couples have?
While no amount of money can compensate formerly potential parents, couples are filing lawsuits in order to help with their recoveries. Losses they may obtain through litigation include:
- Costs for the medical procedures they underwent to produce the tissues
- Embryo storage costs
- Emotional distress
- Other losses incurred by the clinic’s negligence
Another clinic in California also had a malfunction on the same weekend. In this situation, embryologists acted quickly and believe that the most of the eggs and embryos were saved.