April 8, 2024

Licence of London fertility clinic suspended after losing embryos

After a decision by the Supreme Court of Alabama in a case about the destruction of embryos sent ripples around the world, errors in IVF clinics are in the news. The latest development comes from London. 

fertility clinic there has had its operating licence suspended over what was described as “significant concerns”. The Homerton Fertility Centre has been ordered by the UK’s government fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, to cease new procedures during investigations.

The clinic has admitted that there had been three separate incidents. “Errors in some freezing processes” had occurred, and “a small number of embryos” had perished or were “undetectable”. In other words, they could not be found after thawing.

The clinic has informed its clients and apologised for the distress that the incident may have caused.

According to the BBC, as many as 150 embryos belonging to up to 45 patients could have been destroyed or lost.

Last month another disaster came to light in the UK. A number of women were affected by the use of a faulty freezing solution at fertility clinics in London and Sheffield. Frozen eggs and embryos may have been destroyed. 

The HFEA said that the only clinics affected were Guy’s and St Thomas’ assisted conception unit in London and Jessop Fertility in Sheffield. The clinics attributed the accident to a batch of faulty freezing solution from CooperSurgical, a US company.

“Fertility treatment in the UK is generally very safe,” Rachel Cutting, of the HFEA, told the media. “Our most recent report shows that out of the almost 100,000 treatment and storage cycles which took place in 2022/23, more than 99% were conducted without any incidents occurring.”