SAN FRANCISCO - For the second time this week, a San Francisco fertility center is being sued for squashing dreams of parenthood.
A Sacramento area couple who were storing eight embryos at Pacific Fertility Center filed a lawsuit against the clinic on Thursday. The suit comes just days after the clinic announced that thousands of frozen eggs and embryos were potentially damaged after a liquid nitrogen failure in a storage tank.
Megan and Jonathan Bauer are among the 400 patients who were notified this week of the March 4 failure.They are seeking $5 million in damages for negligence, breach of contract and conversion.
It was the second such failure at a U.S. clinic in a matter of days.
Last week, an Ohio hospital said more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged due to a refrigerator malfunction. A couple from suburban Cleveland and a Pennsylvania couple are suing University Hospitals Fertility Clinic for the breach.
In the San Francisco case, 32-year-old Megan Bauer was to undergo in vitro fertilization in April at Pacific Fertility Center. She and her husband paid roughly $2,000 to store eight embryos there more than three years ago.
The couple was not reachable for comment Thursday. Their attorney, Adam Wolf, said Pacific Fertility Center “squashed this couple’s dreams of becoming parents.” Pacific Fertility Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment from KTVU.
“Pacific Fertility Center promised to safeguard and protect (their) frozen embryos, vouching to maximize the couple’s chances of becoming pregnant and their opportunity to raise as many children as they would like,’’ Wolf said Thursday.
The couple received the news in an email that said their stored tissue “may have been impacted” when the liquid nitrogen in Tank No. 4 fell below necessary levels.
The Pacific Fertility email continued: “We are incredibly sorry that this happened and for the anxiety that this will surely cause. We are heartbroken by this situation and our thoughts are with each of you who may have been touched by this event.”
The only way to confirm if the embryos are actually destroyed is to immediately thaw them, according to Wolf. The Bauers are not in a position to do that right now, he said.
Wolf said he has heard the fertility clinic is offering clients the opportunity to store new eggs and embryos free of charge, but the couple won't likely take them up on the offer, he said.
"This is not a case where everything will be okay with a do over,’’ Wolf said.
Thursday’s lawsuit is the second filing this week against Pacific Fertility Center. A San Francisco woman who preserved her eggs at the clinic two years ago is also seeking $5 million in damages for the potential loss of her eggs.