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Eggs, Embryos Possibly Damaged at California Fertility Clinic

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    Eggs, Embryos Possibly Damaged at SF Fertility Clinic

    A San Francisco fertility clinic says thousands of frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged after a liquid nitrogen failure in a storage tank. Sergio Quintana reports. (Published Monday, March 12, 2018)

    A San Francisco fertility clinic says thousands of frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged after a liquid nitrogen failure in a storage tank.

    Dr. Carl Herbert, president of Pacific Fertility Clinic, told the Washington Post on Sunday that officials have informed some 400 patients of the failure that occurred March 4.

    Herbert says the clinic's staff thawed a few eggs and found they remain viable. He says they have not checked any of the embryos.

    A call to the clinic from The Associated Press seeking further details was not immediately returned Sunday.

    Pacific Fertiliy Clinic released a statement later Sunday, saying in part: "The vast majority of the eggs and embryos in the lab were unaffected, and the facility is operating securely. 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."

    It's the second such failure at a U.S. clinic in a matter of days. Last week, an Ohio hospital said more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged due to a refrigerator malfunction.

    Full statement from Pacific Fertility Clinic:

    “On March 4, a single piece of equipment in our cryo-storage laboratory lost liquid nitrogen for a brief period of time. We do know that there is viable tissue from that tank. The rest of the tanks were not affected. The equipment was immediately retired, the vast majority of the eggs and embryos in the lab were unaffected, and the facility is operating securely. 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. We have brought in independent experts and are conducting a full investigation. Our patients and the safety of their eggs and embryos are our highest priorities and we are reaching out to inform them of this incident. In addition, we have completed a physical inspection of all of the lab equipment and have also thoroughly reviewed all cryo-preservation protocols with staff. We are truly sorry this happened and for the anxiety that this will surely cause.”