Freezer Malfunction at Cleveland Hospital Damages Embryos; Erie - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Freezer Malfunction at Cleveland Hospital Damages Embryos; Erie Couples Affected

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Hundreds of couples are dealing with grief after an incident at a Cleveland Hospital.  Thousands of human eggs and embryos were damaged, and possibly destroyed, after a freezer malfunction earlier this month.  Some of the couples live in the Erie area.

Julie Swanson, of Harborcreek, is one of the people from the Erie area that received bad news from the University Health Systems of Cleveland. She was told that two embryos belonging to her, and her husband, were inside a freezer that malfunctioned the weekend of March 3 & 4.  She says the hospital told her the embryos were destroyed.

Julie has gone through in-vitro fertilization twice before. A son that was born in 2016 died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She and her husband went through the process again later that year and now have a healthy eight month old boy. They planned to implant the two embryos this fall to give the child a brother or sister.

Julie says she knows 15 other couples from the Erie area who also received the bad news from the Cleveland hospital. She met them through a local non-profit called New Blossoms/New Life. They are helping each other through their sorrow. 

"It's all about rallying together and supporting each other, and getting through this.  We'll all going through the same thing.  Emotions may be different.  People have their own opinions on things.  But, we have to stick together and get through it," Julie said.

The founders of New Blossoms/New Life described the process a woman has to go through before in-vitro fertilization.  They described the shots and medications, the doctor's visits, the poking, and prodding.     It's all to secure hope for a pregnancy.  Julie says its an emotional process. She's willing to do it all over again. She feels bad for those who can't.

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