Thousands of eggs, embryos possibly damaged at OH hospital

University Hospitals does not know how or why the temperature fluctuated, and has launched an investigation to determine exactly what happened, it said in a statement Thursday.

University Hospitals notified the patients this week, explaining that a problem with one of two large freezers preserving the specimens at the hospital's fertility center was discovered last Sunday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

"We are so very sorry this happened".

The dilemma for those involved is that their eggs and embryos have to be completely thawed to determine whether they are still viable, but if thawed, they can not be refrozen.

Thousands of eggs and embryos may have been destroyed after a hospital fridge malfunctioned.

"Some of the eggs and embryos that were stored date back decades", DePompei told WKYC.

That means the hospital will have to sit down with more than 700 patients and decide how they want to proceed.

"At this point, we do not know the viability of all of the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted", said Patti DePompei, the president of University Hospital Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, in a Facebook video announcing the news.

Women must undergo hormonal therapy for approximately three weeks before undergoing a procedure for egg extraction. "Right now, our patients and families are our first priority". Hospital staff has set up a call center to arrange meetings or calls between patients and their physicians to address their concerns.

Patients are encouraged to call the hotline at 216-286-9740, Monday through Friday from 7 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. though 1 p.m.

As of now these eggs and embryos have been moved to a working tank.

There have been no threats, said hospital officials.

On average, freezing eggs can cost between $12,000 and $14,000. Sean Tipton, chief policy officer at ASRM expressed his sympathy for the affected families and said the organization would look into the matter ensuring this is not repeated.

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