By Linh Bui

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Three cancer survivors are suing the Cleveland-area fertility clinic that accidentally destroyed more than 4,000 stored embryos and eggs.

All three women say they went through painful fertility treatments and the clinic betrayed their trust.

“Losing my fertility was not an option for me,” Danelle Yerkey said.

In an emotional press conference, the cancer survivors told similar painful stories.

“I risked my life and delayed my chemotherapy treatments because having a family was so important to me,” Sarah Deer said.

About 950 families are believed to be impacted by last month’s storage tank failure.

RELATED: 2 Fertility Clinics Facing Outrage After Egg, Embryo Storage Failures

Rachel Mehl says learning her eggs were gone was like a punch to the gut.

“Because of the carelessness of UH, University Hospital, I have now lost all hopes of having biological children,” Mehl said.

The new lawsuit alleges: “University hospitals did not notify its clients or double check to make sure its local and remote monitoring systems were functional…” despite being “aware of issues with the liquid nitrogen storage tank in the weeks preceding” last month’s malfunction.

In a letter to patients last week, university hospitals admitted “the tank in question needed preventative maintenance” prior to the March 3 incident.

The tanks that protect embryos are often exempt from government oversight, but there are proposals in the works for new regulations.

Ohio State Sen. Joe Schiavoni is in the early stages of crafting regulatory legislation with fellow lawmakers.

“If something goes wrong with the chemical makeup of this tank there should be a trigger, there should be an alarm, and there needs to be somebody there that can remedy this situation immediately.”

But for some, the suggested regulations are too late.

“UH must be held accountable for shattering our dreams and for forever altering the courses of our lives,” Mehl said.

University Hospitals responded to the press conference saying, “We are profoundly sorry and are committed to helping make sure this never happens again anywhere.”

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Linh Bui


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