CLEVELAND, Ohio- University Hospital officials say they've increased security at the Ahuja Medical Center after 700 patients were notified that the frozen eggs and embyros they stored at the Fertility Center may have been damaged over the weekend when the temperature rose in a storage tank.
Patti DePompei, president of UH MacDonald Women's Hospital and UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, told NBC News this malfunction may have caused damage to numerous eggs and embryos - some of which have been stored for decades.
'But we do know that the temperature that was measured at a portion of the tank was higher than our acceptable limits'.
"Until we know the issue that caused this we will be monitoring the tank 24/7", Liu told Cleveland.com. Independent experts will assess the situation and help University Hospitals understand what happened and how it can handle the situation.
At the tissue storage bank, these eggs and embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen according to a hospital spokesperson's statement yesterday (8th of March 2018). We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns.
DePompei said the hospital sent letters to all the affected patients on Tuesday morning, after verifying current addresses.
A call center has also been set up to arrange personal meetings or calls with physicians.
She added: 'Right now, our patients come first. They must be completely thawed to determine viability, but then can not be refrozen. All have been moved to another cryo tank at the correct temperature.
In comments underneath the video message, people expressed frustration and heartbreak at the potential loss of the embryos and eggs, which represented not only a significant financial and medical commitment, but the hope of expanding families.
Eggs are frozen in order to postpone pregnancy. The cost of the procedure range from at least $12,000 to $14,000.
"We are so very sorry this happened". 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. According to the latest figures from the ARSM, more than 6,200 women froze their eggs in 2015.