$15M awarded to five people who lost eggs, embryos at fertility clinic

A 2018 tank failure at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco destroyed nearly 3,500 frozen eggs and embryos.

SAN FRANCISCO – A jury on Thursday awarded nearly $15 million to five people who lost eggs or embryos when a cryogenic storage tank failed at a fertility clinic.

A federal jury awarded in a lawsuit filed at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco over a 2018 tank failure that destroyed nearly 3,500 frozen eggs and embryos.

The prize – including more than $14 million in damages for pain, suffering and emotional distress – will be awarded to three women who lost eggs and one married couple who lost embryos.

His case is the first to go to a jury, but hundreds of others have also sued Clinique and Chart Industries Inc., which built the cryogenic tank where the samples were stored.

During the trial, the women and the couple expressed their pain from the loss.

Chloe Poyton, 39, lost nine eggs.

Poyton testified, “It’s really painful to be at a baby shower celebrating someone else’s becoming a family and knowing you’ll never have it.” “So you start pulling back. You start falling apart.”

A similar tank failure in a Cleveland suburb that occurred the same day as the San Francisco failure ruined more than 4,000 eggs and embryos. They were the largest such losses on record in the US, prompting centers across the country to review their procedures.

In the closing argument during the San Francisco trial, a lawyer for Chart blamed the breeding center for the tank’s failure. But jurors rejected the argument that the tank had been misused or improperly modified.

The jurors found that a manufacturing defect was attributed to the tank’s failure and found the chart 90% responsible and negligent for failing to recall the defective part, finding that it was a “substantial factor” in causing the damage. was.

Part one was a controller that monitored liquid nitrogen levels.

Pacific Fertility was found to be responsible for negligence and 10 percent of the loss.

All three women were awarded approximately $2 million to $3 million, while the couple was awarded $7.2 million.

Messages left to Chart’s attorney and Pacific Fertility were not immediately returned Thursday.

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