IVF – Egg and embryo freezing

The procedure of egg-freezing has been described as ‘costly and emotionally fraught.’ Nonetheless, many women are choosing to freeze their eggs today. In fact, there has been a 1000% increase in the number of women in Australia and New Zealand choosing to freeze their eggs in the ten years to 2020. Women cite various reasons for doing so, and among them are the desire to delay childbearing to focus on their career or for relational reasons. Egg freezing provides women with flexibility and peace of mind if they hope to have a child in the future. It provides women with a chance to get pregnant that they may not otherwise have naturally.

However, the egg-freezing procedure is not a guarantee of a baby. IVF Australia has stated that:

In an average egg freezing cycle, 90% of eggs will survive thawing, 70% fertilisation and 45% would be developed into a pregnancy.

An important consideration, though, is whether these odds take into consideration the possibility of freezer-failure; a phenomenon which has been brought to light in the last 5 years.

In California in 2018, two freezer-failures at independent fertility clinics occurred. The first resulted in 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos being unviable, impacting close to 1,000 families. The second resulted in over 3,500 frozen human embryos and eggs being unviable. In the latter, both the fertility clinic and the freezer tank manufacturer were held jointly liable and five patients impacted by the event were awarded a $15m sum. In both cases, temperature alert systems were not working.

A recent ABC Article chronicled a circumstance where three women undergoing IVF treatment had their embryos destroyed as they were contaminated by bacteria. The cause of contamination is currently unknown.

As one fertility specialist stated, when women lose their frozen embryos or eggs, their ‘…hopes and dreams have suddenly been taken away.’

Have you been impacted by a freezer-failure?

If a patient loses their embryos or eggs as a consequence of inadequate due diligence on behalf of a fertility clinic or freezer manufacturer which led to a freezer-failure, the patient will be able to bring a legal case in negligence for their loss.

What does the legal process involve?

  1. A free consultation (in the office/ phone or zoom) with our team at our Central Coast or Sydney offices;
  2. We will advise you, if we think you have a case;
  3. If we think you do have a case, we will collect your medical records and review them;
  4. We will instruct an expert doctor to comment on the care you were given;
  5. If the expert doctor agrees there was negligence, we will file court proceedings; and
  6. We will claim financial compensation for you aimed at putting you back in the position you would have been in but for the injury.

Time limits

Time limits apply, these range from 3 years from the date of injury to up until 12 years in certain cases.  Do not delay, get prompt advice.

Next Steps

If you believe you are the victim of negligence, call our office or message us and will call you to make an appointment for a free initial discussion about your legal options.

Remedy Law Group