“Oops, We Killed Your Embryos – So Sorry!”

“I Said, ‘No…’ Then I Lost My Mind.”

What if human embryos were never meant to be frozen?

| Ohio woman loses four embryos and her last 10 eggs when freezer tank fails

March 4, 2019, By Rich Gardella and Erika Edwards

NBC News – A Facebook post was what alerted Katelynn Gurbach to a massive tank malfunction at University Hospitals Fertility Center near Cleveland a year ago.

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A friend tagged her on a news story about the incident. “Oh my God, do you think this is you?” the friend asked.

“I said, ‘no…’” Gurbach, 29, told NBC News, figuring at first that it couldn’t be true.

“Then I lost my mind.”

Gurbach, of Wickliffe, Ohio, lost 10 eggs and four embryos when the liquid nitrogen freezer tank at the center failed the weekend of March 3-4.

Those were her only chances of having a biological child.

She’d been diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 23, and had stored them at the University Hospitals facility before having her ovaries removed.

Gurbach said all she’d ever wanted was to be a mother. The Only Woman in the World With Two …

“I was heartbroken. I was devastated,” she said. The memory still brings tears a year later.

“There were a lot of hopes and dreams in those (eggs and embryos),” she said.

The problem had gone undetected for an undetermined period of time because a remote alarm system — which should have alerted employees to temperature swings in the tank — had been turned off.

Heartbreak, anxiety, lawsuits: The egg-freezing disaster a year later

University Hospitals later sent letters to almost 1,000 affected patients apologizing for the malfunction.

None of the almost 4,000 eggs or embryos stored at the facility remained viable.

The incident occurred the same weekend that another storage tank failed at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco, also resulting in the loss of eggs and embryos. Despite the eerie timing, the problems were found to be unrelated.

News of the tank failures, which resulted in the loss of eggs and embryos belonging to people who had paid these facilities to safeguard them, horrified fertility doctors and women around the country. Read more. 

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