Two unrelated equipment malfunctions at fertility clinics in Ohio and California have compromised thousands of frozen embryos and eggs, dashing the hopes of creating families for untold numbers of people.
Frozen embryos and eggs need to be stored in liquid nitrogen in a thermos-like atmosphere to stay viable. University Hospitals in Ohio said an “unexpected temperature fluctuation” in a tank between March 3 and 4 compromised the materials. A tank at Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco experienced a similar malfunction at the same time.
As anyone who has struggled to conceive can tell you, fertility struggles can be extremely difficult and devastating. Niki Schaefer of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is now a mother of two, but she knows all too well the hardship that is infertility.
Schaefer went through several rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and one failed round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) before successfully conceiving her first son, Noah, via IVF. She later went through several more rounds of IVF to conceive her daughter, Lane.
Schaefer’s children are now eight and six, and the memory of what she had to go through to bring them into the world is still very fresh in her mind. That’s why the Ohio mom wants to lend a helping hand to the families who may have lost their ability to have biological children in the wake of these malfunctions.
After conceiving Lane, Schaefer had four frozen embryos left. Unsure about what to do with them, she’s been paying $400 annually to keep them in storage at the Cleveland Clinic. After learning of tragic losses at two fertility centers earlier this month, she is donating her remaining embryos to University Hospitals Center in Cleveland to give hopeful parents another options.
“It’s the loss of a chance to have that family that you’re trying so hard to get,” Schaefer told Today.com. “People who freeze their eggs because they’re getting their ovaries removed or going through chemo and can’t try again … I felt like I owed it, in a karmic way, to help those people.”
Schaefer took to Facebook to share the reasoning behind her emotional decision:
In her post, Schaefer also urged others who may be hanging on to frozen embryos to donate as well:
“If you are in my shoes, please consider doing the same. I will happily put you in contact with Dr. Goldfarb. I often say there is a sisterhood of women touched by infertility. This is an opportunity to be real sisters and bring light to the darkness that these families, and those who work at the UH Fertility Center, are experiencing.”
This is such a generous way to help families who are reeling from their loss. We hope some of them are able to take advantage of Schaefer’s donation!