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Five patients who lost embryos and eggs after a fertility clinic tank failed were awarded $15 million in a landmark case

Jun 12, 2021, 10:28 IST
Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • $15 million was awarded to 5 patients after their eggs were lost, The Washington Post reported.
  • The tank at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco malfunctioned in March 2018.
  • About 3,500 frozen eggs and embryos were destroyed.

Five patients who lost eggs or embryos when the tank at a San Francisco fertility clinic failed in 2018 were just awarded a combined $15 million in a landmark case, The Washington Post reported.

A jury came to the decision on Thursday after three years of litigation over the March 2018 incident at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco that destroyed about 3,500 frozen eggs and embryos, the Associated Press reported.

The payment includes more than $14 million for pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

Jurors found that the maker of the tank, Chart Industries, failed to recall the product or warn about a defect that prevented accurate temperature monitoring. Chart Industries was found 90% responsible and Pacific Fertility Center was 10% responsible.

Lawyers told the Post that those who lost their eggs and embryos are still devastated.


"It's really painful to be at a baby shower celebrating someone else's family being built and knowing inside you'll never get that," Chloe Poynton, 39, who lost nine eggs, said. "So you start to pull back. You start to isolate."

Experts in family law told the Post that the case represented the first time a jury's verdict found a clinic in the wrong, as most cases like this are settled out of court.

The jury awarded damages for destroyed eggs and embryos and the verdict could help others who have lawsuits against Chart and the fertility center, or even those with similar lawsuits against other companies.

"This is a landmark case," said Naomi R. Cahn, director of the University of Virginia's Family Law Center. "In the past, many of these cases have settled, but here, we have a definitive jury verdict, holding the tank manufacturer primarily responsible, but with the clinic also responsible."

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