San Francisco Pacific Fertility Clinic Tank Failure Possibly Destroys Thousands of Eggs and Embryos

Liquid Nitrogen Tank for Cryogenic Freezing

Liquid Nitrogen Tank for Cryogenic Freezing

San Francisco, CA – A liquid nitrogen tank failure at Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco occurred on March 4th, 2018.  The tanks require constant liquid nitrogen cooling or temperatures rise within the tank. The tank that failed contained “several thousand” eggs and embryos.

As the temperature rises, embryos and eggs stored within crylocks can be damaged or destroyed as the tissue must remain frozen.  The tissue is stored in vials which hold a single embryo or multiple eggs. A single tank can hold a large number of vials, which the clinic said were transferred upon learning of the failure.

The clinic has been working to identify which tissue was affected by the failure and send notice to the victims. 400 patients had all their tissue stored in the affected tank and another 100 had some tissue stored in the failed tank. The clinic regularly charges $7,000 to $8,000 or more to freeze and store eggs.

A separate incident of tank failure occurred in Cleveland at the University Hospital Ahuja Medical Center. They are not affiliated with Pacific Fertility in San Francisco. The failure of two tanks at different facilities in a short time has created calls for an investigation to determine cause and identify ways to prevent future failures. Sean Tipton of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine stated: “Now that we have a second incident, it becomes very important that we learn as much as we can about both, to search for commonalities and… risks that have now come to light that need to be addressed”.

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