WASHINGTON, March 10 (Xinhua) -- A malfunction in a storage bank at an Ohio fertility clinic may cause damage to more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos, according to media reports.
"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," said University Hospitals of Cleveland in a statement released Thursday.
"At this point, we do not know the viability of all of the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some had been impacted," said Patti DePompei, president of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and MacDonald Women's Hospital, in a video posted on Facebook.
The incident happened last week between Saturday night and Sunday morning when the storage facility was not staffed, hospital administrators told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"We are so very sorry this happened, and we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this very difficult time," DePompei said.
The hospital has consulted with a number of experts to better understand the cause of the temperature fluctuation and "ensure it doesn't happen again," she added.
University Hospitals has initiated contact with all of the affected patients to respond to their questions, according to the hospital's statement.
A call center has also been set up to arrange personal meetings or calls with physicians.
About 700 fertility patients and their families have been notified of the situation, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
After the incident, the eggs and embryos were moved to another storage bank at the same facility, which is being monitored around the clock by staff on site, it added.