In the wake of a high-profile freezer failure at a fertility clinic, Ohio legislators are considering legislation that would make the state a leader when it comes to regulating how clinics store and handle frozen embryos.
A bill by state Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Youngstown) comes after a failure at University Hospitals in March, which resulted in the loss of about 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos. The hospital system is facing more than 100 lawsuits.
Schiavoni says he’s been gathering information from people affected by the failure, as well as health care professionals. Their recommendations include not storing all of a patient’s embryos in one location, and also having personnel monitor storage tanks around the clock.
“You don’t want to do knee-jerk-reaction legislation,” Schiavoni said. “And that’s why I didn’t just drop a bill immediately with a bunch of mandates and requirements.”
University Hospitals say that its storage tanks had their remote alarm systems turned off, and it didn’t know when temperatures rose. Their internal investigation showed the problem may have been human error as well as mechanical failure.
Schiavoni adds that writing the bill has become more complex than he anticipated since the industry is largely self-regulated, and there does not seem to be any similar legislation in-place in other states, or at the federal level.