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Nation’s fertility clinics struggle with a growing number of abandoned embryos

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Patrizio stated storage charges at his clinic value $600 a 12 months, however can value twice as a lot, relying upon the clinic.

“The problem is, even if an embryo is considered abandoned, even if there’s a contract in place, it’s very difficult to get rid of. What if one day someone shows up and says, ‘Where’s my embryo?’ And you wind up on the front page of the newspaper for destroying someone’s embryo? The damage would be done,” he stated.

For that cause, Patrizio stated, his clinic doesn’t destroy abandoned embryos.

Richard Vaughn, a founding accomplice of the International Fertility Law Group, a nationwide legislation firm that focuses on fertility issues, with places of work in New York and Los Angeles, stated he is aware of of no fertility clinics keen to dispose of abandoned embryos.

“They don’t want to be responsible for a wrongful death,” he stated.

The embryos usually don’t require a lot room.

“Frozen embryos take up very little space,” Dr. Sherman Silber, director of the Infertility Center of St. Louis, stated. “You could put a whole city in a lab.”

But whereas the embryos are small, the liquid nitrogen tanks through which they’re housed aren’t. Patrizio famous a number of clinics are operating out of room for the tanks and are outsourcing storage of abandoned embryos to corporations like Reprotech, a nationwide storage firm he calls “a mini-storage facility for embryos.”

“Many clinics don’t want to have the abandoned embryos in their facility for liability reasons,” Patrizio stated.

Patrizio and Sweet stated the difficulty of abandoned embryos is usually mentioned at international fertility conferences, however typically stays inside the trade what Sweet calls “the elephant in the room,” that’s neither publicly mentioned nor addressed.

The downside, Allen stated, is that clinics are fertilizing too many eggs.

The number of eggs a lady can produce in a month-to-month cycle main as much as an egg retrieval varies, relying upon her age, ovarian reserve, medical historical past and response to fertility medicine.

During the 1990s, many clinics deemed it essential to inseminate as many of a affected person’s eggs as attainable, as a result of many embryos didn’t make it by the freezing and thawing course of. Now, Allen stated, methods have improved.

“With the technology we have, creating a large amount of surplus embryos is completely unnecessary,” Allen stated, noting embryologists now know solely a few eggs at a time have to be inseminated.

“[But] you continue to see many physicians with the mentality of, ‘the more, the merrier.’ So you see [some women] having 40, 50 or 60 eggs retrieved in a cycle and the embryologist will get the orders from her physician to inseminate all of them — and the query isn’t requested if the affected person even needs that many inseminated.

“Nobody’s going to have 30 children,” she stated.

Allen stated regulation is required inside the fertility trade and is hopeful the U.S. will observe examples established by Germany and Italy, the place solely a few embryos can legally be created and transferred at a time, thus avoiding surplus embryos.

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