94 embryos perish in Rome hospital in refrigeration mishap

Michael Cook
14 Apr 2012
Reproduced with Permission

The Italian government is investigating an IVF clinic in Rome after 94 embryos, 130 eggs and 5 sperm samples were destroyed when its refrigeration system failed. About 40 couples were affected.

The French company which supplied the liquid nitrogen, Air Liquide, said that it had followed strict procedures but it apologised for the incident at San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome.

A briefing by the Health Department soon afterwards alleged that there were serious shortcomings in the hospital's procedures. "Organisation at the centre is far from ideal and the organisation structure is unclear," it reported. "There are no quality assurance systems in place, structures and routine checks on structures are inadequate and monitoring operations reveal serious shortcomings".

In interview with La Stampa the hospital director admitted that an alarm went off when the temperature rose but "no-one heard it" because it was in a basement while the lab was on the second floor. - AGI.it, Apr 3;