Second fertility clinic malfunction puts 400 patients' eggs, embryos at risk

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A California fertility clinic's equipment malfunction jeopardized over 400 frozen eggs and embryos. (WLS)

A California fertility clinic has reported that an equipment malfunction has put hundreds of frozen eggs and embryos at risk.

Less than a week ago, a Cleveland fertility clinic made a similar report.

San Francisco Pacific Fertility Center President Dr. Carl Herbert spoke exclusively to ABC News about the issue at his facility.

"We're not saying this tissue is lost," Herbert said. "Yes, it may be affected and we have to acknowledge that, but our hopes are that it'll be a minimal impact."

According to the clinic, liquid nitrogen levels dropped in a tank that housed eggs and embryos. More than 400 patients may have been affected, clinic representatives said. An investigation is underway.

In Cleveland, patients at The University Hospital's fertility clinic are planning to take legal action after 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged by a failed liquid nitrogen tank.

"I think I'm going to be feeling this every day, because to me, it's my child's potential sibling," said Marlo Emch, one of the potentially affected patients. Emch is waiting to hear if her eggs are still viable.

The University Hospital representatives said they are bringing in independent experts to determine what caused the malfunction.

"At this point, we do not know the viability of all of the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted," said University Hospital Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and Macdonald Women's Hospital President Patti DePompei.

The San Francisco clinic said doctors are reaching out to all potentially affected patients. Clinic representatives said they also plan to add a third alarm system to their tank to ensure an incident like this one never happens again.
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