Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Fertility clinic failures

New Embryo Preservation Law Aims at Government Oversight of Fertility Centers

Recent equipment failures in California and Ohio destroyed thousands of eggs, embryos

As reported by the Washington Post, Ohio state senator Joe Schiavoni is pressing for legislation intended to improve standards and operational security at fertility clinics that store human eggs and embryos for future use. Coming in the wake of failures at clinics in California and Ohio that led to the destruction of thousands of preserved eggs and embryos, the measure includes express penalties for clinics found to violate the new safeguards. Preliminary data from an investigation into March 2018 Cleveland clinic failures indicates the large-scale egg and embryo loss was largely preventable; health authorities in Ohio noted that the facility had previously reported recordkeeping deficiencies as well as insufficient communication mechanisms for potential preservation tank problems.

The sought-for new law was drafted in consultation with the College of American Pathologists, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and other hospital and medical authorities nationwide. “For many families there is no second go-round here,” senator Schiavoni stated. “I can’t imagine going through that.”

Unlike many other countries, U.S. fertility clinics and egg/embryo preservation facilities are essentially self-regulated. Whereas many other countries mandate close government tracking and monitoring of the industry, U.S. clinics have long argued that self-regulation is enough to protect the women and families who contract with them to gather and preserve eggs and embryos.

Lieff Cabraser partner Sarah R. London represents plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Pacific Fertility Clinic, the San Francisco facility that suffered 2018 tank failures similar to those in the Cleveland clinic. Lieff Cabraser’s attorney team on the cryo tank failures case includes founding partner Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Lexi J. Hazam, Tiseme Zegeye, and Ms. London. Learn more about the lost egg and embryo cases against Pacific Fertility Clinic and how you can contact a women’s injury lawyer at Lieff Cabraser.