US hospital facing lawsuit over freezer tank malfunction

An American couple have spoken of their devastation after they were told the egg bank storing their precious frozen embryos may have destroyed them

The University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood is believed to have had a fault with its liquid nitrogen freezer, which made the egg and embryo samples stored at the facility become too warm, causing potential damage.

Elliot and Amber Ash, of Cleveland, Ohio, began fertility treatment in 2014 and had son Ethan in 2015.

The couple had two embryos stored at the facility and had hoped to have a biological sibling for Ethan, but have now been told the embryos have been destroyed.

Amber told “Our goal was to use the embryos to give our son a genetic sibling.”

But the couple got a phone call from her mother to say she’d seen on the news there was a problem with the freezers at the UHAMC and when she rang the helpline she was told their embryos had been affected.

Amber said: “I was in complete shock, I didn’t know what to think. My heart just sank, I felt sick all day.”

Days later they were called by the centre to say that their embryos are no longer viable.

Two lawsuits have so far been filed against the hospital and more are expected in the coming months.

In a statement on its website, the UHAMC said . . .

“We are investigating a recent incident at our Fertility Clinic involving an unexpected temperature fluctuation with the tissue storage bank where eggs and embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen. At this time, we don’t yet know the viability of these eggs and embryos.

We have initiated an investigation to identify the cause of this event.

We are bringing in independent experts to ensure we understand all aspects of this occurrence and do everything possible to address the situation.

Right now, our patients come first. We are incredibly sorry this happened.

We are committed to getting answers and working with patients individually to address their concerns. We have already initiated contact with all of our patients to inform them and respond to their questions, and set up a designated call center to arrange personal meetings or calls with their physicians.

As always, we are guided by the principle that we are going to do the right thing by our patients and their families.”

Have you been affected by a freezer tank malfunction? Get in touch, email


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