One of the toughest hurdles a woman may have to face in her lifetime is infertility. As if that’s not enough, women are inundated by society’s expectations on motherhood, while also being fed false information that ultimately serves to make them feel like infertility is their fault. Undoubtedly, this can be a devastating experience. Many women turn to alternative methods of conception, like tracking their ovulation, trying home remedies, going to fertility clinics and trying to preserve their eggs for possible in-vitro fertilization. For many women, fertility clinics are their last hope, be it for illness, old age, and other personal reasons.
Imagine you are struggling to conceive a child, and you decide to trust a fertility clinic to store your eggs for possible in-vitro fertilization. Now imagine that your eggs were damaged due to mismanagement and that your chances of conceiving were forever ruined or severely set back. This is the reality of hundreds of women face due to devastating annual mishaps at fertility clinics.
Both Cleveland University Hospital’s fertility center and the Pacific Fertility center had to disclose to their customers this month that due to temperature levels and other maintenance mishaps, their eggs and embryos were at significant risk for no longer being viable. This caused a world of devastation to many families who were probably on their last resort like Kate and Jeremy Plants, who were dealing with the devastating effects of ovarian cancer. To go through something as horrific and exhausting as cancer and then to hear that your only chances of having a biological family are extirpated due to the incompetence of a company; I can’t even begin to imagine what that detriment would feel like.
Now, a class action lawsuit has been filed against Pacific Fertility Center for this heinous mishap. According to the Washington Post, one year of storage in this facility costs almost $9,000, and that’s not including consultations, medicine, lab work, and the appraisal of a healthy embryo or egg. With the sheer number of eggs that are now conceivably damaged, this maintenance error has thrown millions of dollars down the drain for these families as well as caused insurmountable pain.
While a mistake is never purposeful, this is a pretty bad one that has ruined thousands of peoples lives. From ruined eggs to fertilization mishaps and switched embryos, these accidents continue to cast doubt on clinics nationwide with helping parents conceive. They look unprofessional, thoughtless, and to be quiet honest, they look a little evil.
I’m not exactly sure what the right solution is in order to quel tensions, help these women, and restore faith in the capailities of these clinics, but something needs to be done so that women and families never have to go through this again. Fertility clinics are essential in upkeeping the scientific progess in regards to women’s health and they should act like it. Regulations should be tightened up to avoid frequent “low-risk mistakes” from reoccurring. All we can hope is that this class-action lawsuit will make a difference and ensue change. While you could never put a price on someone’s body, the money won would not only force these clinics foster new and secure regulations, but it could also fund more expensive treatments for women who may still have a chance or adoption costs for those who don’t.