Lost, Destroyed, or Stolen Embryos Lawsuits: It Happens More Than You Think!



Fertility doctors and clinics hold themselves out as noble caregivers who families realize their dream of having children. Many of them are. But—all too often—fertility centers completely fail their duties to their patients, either through gross negligence or, in some cases, intentional wrongdoing. 


Examples of Lost Embryo Lawsuits

In just the past few years, there have been several examples of fertility centers losing, destroying, or misusing frozen embryos:

  • In March 2018, it was reported that a fertility clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, had experienced a storage tank failure, resulting in the loss of more than 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos.
  • In October 2018, it was reported that a fertility clinic in San Francisco, California, had accidentally discarded a number of frozen embryos and eggs due to a laboratory error.
  • In October 2019, it was reported that a fertility clinic in New York City had lost a number of frozen embryos due to a power outage caused by a winter storm.
  • In December 2020, it was reported that a fertility clinic in Chicago had experienced a liquid nitrogen failure in a storage tank, resulting in the loss of thousands of frozen eggs and embryos.
  • In January 2021, it was reported that a fertility clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, had experienced a storage tank failure, resulting in the loss of more than 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos.
  • In 2021, a fertility clinic in Canada was found guilty of misconduct for using embryos for research without the knowledge or consent of the parents.


The UC Irvine Scandal.

One of the most notable cases of fertility clinic misconduct occurred at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in the 1990s. Three doctors, Ricardo Asch, Sergio Stone, and Jose Balmaceda, were accused of, among other things, misusing eggs and embryos, including taking patients eggs/embryos without their consent, and implanting them into other patients. As a result, several children were born who were not biologically related to the intended parents.

The scandal came to light in 1995 when a patient discovered that her baby did not resemble the father listed on her medical records. The subsequent investigation revealed that the doctors had engaged in a pattern of misconduct over a period of several years.

The doctors were charged with multiple counts of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and sexual battery, among other charges. They were also stripped of their medical licenses and ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages to the affected patients. The clinic was closed down and the three doctors were forced to retire.

The UCI fertility clinic scandal was a shocking case of medical misconduct that caused a great deal of emotional and financial harm to the affected patients and their families. It also raised important ethical questions about the use of assisted reproductive technologies and the responsibility of clinics and doctors to ensure the safety and integrity of these procedures.


Contacting a Fertility Malpractice Lawyer

Fertility clinic misconduct is a serious issue that can have a profound impact on the lives of those affected by it. Patients should thoroughly research a clinic and its track record before undergoing treatment and be aware of their rights if they suspect misconduct. These cases highlight the importance of holding clinics and doctors accountable for their actions and ensuring that the safety and well-being of patients are always a top priority.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of fertility center negligence or misconduct, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation. Our team of fertility malpractice lawyers are here to answer any questions you have and help you understand your legal options.