Clinics respond to egg, embryo storage failures

CLEVELAND (AP) — Two fertility clinics across the country from each other experienced equipment failures on the same day that may have damaged hundreds of frozen eggs and embryos, something that a fertility expert called a stunning coincidence and that is already producing lawsuits from crestfallen couples.

Lawyers for Amber and Elliott Ash, of the Cleveland suburb of Bay Village, and an unidentified Pennsylvania couple have sued University Hospitals after its fertility clinic in suburban Cleveland discovered a storage tank malfunction March 4 and said last week that as many as 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged.

The lawsuits come as a San Francisco fertility clinic said thousands of frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged in a liquid nitrogen failure in a storage tank on the same day.

Lawyers for the couples who went to the Ohio clinic are seeking class action status, which would require approval from a judge. The Ashes said they stored two embryos at a University Hospitals fertility clinic in suburban Cleveland after Elliott’s cancer diagnosis in 2003. They said they were told over the weekend that their embryos are no longer viable.

“It’s heartbreaking, just heartbreaking,” Amber Ash told WEWS-TV. “The medical community calls it tissue. I like to think of it as my children.”

The couple has a 2-year-old son conceived through in-vitro fertilization and hoped to bring him a genetic sibling.

“With this lawsuit, we will get answers and stop this from happening again,” said Mark DiCello, an attorney

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