The level of liquid nitrogen in a cryo-storage tank used to preserve eggs and embryos dropped, raising the temperature in the tank and putting the eggs and embryos at risk.
The center said it had brought in independent experts to conduct a full investigation and was reaching out to its patients: "We are truly sorry this happened and for the anxiety that this will surely cause". And a larger group whose tissue was unaffected.
Herbert told the newspaper his discussions with patients were emotional. "Our goal is to provide all the patients we see with some kind of a family".
The dilemma for those involved is that their eggs and embryos have to be completely thawed to determine whether they are still viable, but if thawed, they can not be refrozen. They have not checked any of the embryos, he said.
The hospital has issued an apology after the unexplained malfunction caused temperatures inside the storage tank to rise. Embryos - fertilized eggs - are stored individually.
Amber and Elliot Ash of Bay Village had two embryos stored at the facility.
After eight years, they were ready to use their frozen embryos at the fertility clinic. "This was a awful incident", Herbert said, "but I was reassured that.he did everything anybody could ever want to do".
A spokesman for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a major professional organization, said such large-scale incidents appear to be unprecedented.
Hunt said staff members at the Grand Rapids clinic also physically check the tanks every week. The embryos, he said, were later transferred to a new tank.
The family also says the hospital did not notify them of the issue for almost a week.
According to the clinic's website, its fees for egg freezing are $8,345 for the initial cycle and $6,995 for each subsequent round.
In a statement, the Pacific Fertility Center said "viable tissue" had been recovered from the one tank affected and that "the vast majority of the eggs and embryos in the lab were unaffected".
"We would love to have our own biological child, so when we found out that that decision was made for us, and they're destroyed, you're grieving the loss of your own child essentially because your hopes and dreams are put into that embryo", Kate Plants said. He moved to San Francisco in 1990 and, with colleagues, purchased Pacific Fertility Center nine years later.
The failure came the same day as one at a Cleveland-area clinic where officials estimate about 2000 frozen eggs and embryos may have been damaged by a similar storage tank malfunction. Some of the samples date to the 1980s, said Dr. James Liu, head of the hospital's obstetrics and gynecology department.