More than 130 women left 'traumatised' after 'devastating' fault damaged their eggs at NHS fertility clinic

Eggs being frozen at a fertility clinic

A faulty freezing solution likely damaged the eggs of more than 130 women at NHS-operated fertility clinic in London

Adam Chapman

By Adam Chapman

Published: 14/02/2024

- 11:32

Updated: 14/02/2024

- 12:36

Guy's Hospital in London has issued an apology following the catastrophic error as an official investigation gets underway

More than 130 women may now never be able to have children after their eggs were likely damaged due to a freezing error at a leading fertility clinic.

Guy's Hospital in London contacted 136 women after discovering its NHS-operated clinic may have inadvertently used some bottles of a faulty freezing solution in September and October 2022.

The clinic said it did not know the liquid was defective at the time.

It is understood that many of the affected women affected have subsequently had cancer treatment, meaning they now may be unable to conceive with their own eggs.

Nurse walking through hospital

The year-long delay has meant some women might have missed their fertility window

Getty Images

Furthermore, the year-long delay between between the hospital finding out about the error in March last year to the women being told may mean that many have missed their fertility window.

A Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said the manufacturing issue may adversely impact the chance of a frozen egg or embryo surviving during thawing.

"We were made aware of a manufacturing issue with some bottles of a solution that may have been used to freeze eggs and embryos in our Assisted Conception Unit in September and October 2022," they said.

They added that Guy's Hospital has now contacted all those affected and apologised for the delay and any distress the error may have caused.

Horror stories abound. One woman, whose eggs were frozen within the fault window, recalled how she was in a state of shock after being called in for a “clinical development”.

She told The Times: "The doctor informed me that the eggs I had frozen are unlikely to be viable, due to a faulty freezing process. It has been devastating.

"Many of the women have now missed their chance to preserve their fertility.

"Some are cancer patients who have since had hysterectomies.

"It is traumatising for those poor women to be told their frozen eggs cannot be used."

Guy\u2019s and St Thomas\u2019 Hospital in London

Guy's Hospital has now contacted all those affected and apologised

Georgie Gillard /PA/PA Archive

The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) said a safety notice about the faulty freezing system had been issued to all registered clinics in February 2023 - however the Guy's Hospital clinic still used the faulty solution several months later.

HFEA director of compliance and information Rachel Cutting described the situation as "ongoing" at Guy's and St Thomas' Assisted Conception Unit, with an investigation now underway.
"We will take any further action required as a result of this investigation, in line with our standard incidents process," she said.

"We are aware that this affected product may have been distributed to other UK clinics, although the HFEA is currently unaware of any other licensed clinic where patients have been affected."

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