The San Francisco law firm of Minami Tamaki LLP is investigating local fertility clinic Pacific Fertility Center after it disclosed on March 11, 2018, that it suffered a malfunction in a steel tank where hundreds of patient’s eggs and embryos were stored. The liquid nitrogen failure, which reportedly occurred on March 4, 2018, could endanger the tissue and patients’ chances of having children.
The malfunction was discovered by the clinic’s laboratory director, who noticed that the level of liquid nitrogen in one tank was too low. A lack of liquid nitrogen causes temperatures in tanks to rise, which can cause damage to tissue housed in vials called cryolocks. The clinic reported the incident to the College of American Pathologists, which oversees California’s tissue banks.
The clinic declined to specify the number of eggs and embryos affected, but disclosed several thousand were in the tank. According to reports, the eggs and embryos in the affected tank had been in storage for as long as 10 years. According to Pacific Fertility Center, the extent to which the malfunction damaged eggs and embryos remains unclear.
News of this incident comes on the heels of a similar malfunction the same weekend at University Hospital Fertility Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
These incidents come as a growing number of U.S. women are choosing to freeze their eggs as assisted reproductive technology has advanced. According to Pacific Fertility’s website, egg-freezing starts at $8,345 for the first cycle and $6,995 for subsequent rounds. Thousands of individuals are planning their families based on this technology, and, for some families, the treatment is their only chance at conceiving a child.
Minami Tamaki attorneys have experience advising individuals regarding laboratory failure at reproductive clinics. If you believe your frozen eggs or embryos were affected by the Pacific Fertility Center malfunction, you may contact us online or call us at 415-788-9000 to set up a free consultation.