California Fertility Clinic Sued Over ‘Thousands’ of Lost Embryos and Eggs

A couple filed a class-action lawsuit against a San Francisco fertility clinic after a liquid-nitrogen tank failure destroyed frozen embryos and eggs.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

A couple sued a San Francisco fertility clinic on Wednesday for losing thousands of frozen embryos and eggs in early March when a cryo-storage tank malfunctioned.

Megan and Jonathan Bauer filed a class action lawsuit against Pacific Fertility Center for $5 million on behalf of more than 100 people who lost thousands of eggs and embryos after levels of liquid nitrogen dropped below standard levels at the clinic’s storage facilities, according to court filings. The Bauer’s claim comes a week after multiple Ohio couples sued a fertility clinic in Cleveland over a similar tank failure.

The California couple said that clinic employees notified them this month that their eight embryos were lost after tank temperatures dropped below normal levels—typically minus 60 to minus 80 degrees. “We are heartbroken by this situation and our thoughts are with each of you who may have been touched by this event,” said the clinic, according to court documents.

The Bauers, who had been trying to conceive for over three years, are suing the clinic for breach of contract, negligence, and conversion, in addition to financial and emotional damages. The couple paid the clinic $600 yearly to store the embryos. The couple, who wanted to transfer their embryos in April, “feel like their dreams of having children together in the near future have been stolen from them,” according to the lawsuit.

In Ohio, Amber and Elliot Ash were among the couples suing a fertility clinic at University Hospital that lost nearly 2,000 eggs and embryos belonging to 700 people collectively earlier this month. Patti DePompei, president of UH’s children’s and women’s hospitals, said she was“incredibly sorry this happened,” the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported.

“The medical community calls it tissue, I like to think of it as my children. My frozen children,” Amber Ash told Cleveland’s WEWS-TV. The Ashes have a 2-year-old child, according to Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The Bauers have no children, and the wife fears her chances at pregnancy “substantially decreased” in her thirties, according to the lawsuit.

Both couples in California and Ohio stored their embryos in order to have a child through in vitro fertilization. IVF costs $12,000 on average and includes hormone shots and multiple doctors visits.