"We are investigating a recent incident at our Fertility Clinic involving an unexpected temperature fluctuation with the tissue storage bank where eggs and embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen", the hospital said in a statement.
Patti DePompei, president of UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, released a video apology on the hospital's Facebook page.
"We are so very sorry this happened and we want to do all that we can to support our patients and families through this very hard time", DePompei said a video posted on Facebook Thursday.
The storage tank had off-site monitoring and an audible alarm that would alert staff to such a temperature change.
DePompei said the hospital sent letters to all the affected patients on Tuesday morning, after verifying current addresses.
Some patients had more than one sample stored.
The liquid nitrogen freezer held about 2,000 egg and embryo specimens, according to James Liu, chairman of the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UH Cleveland Medical Center.
Patients are encouraged to call the hotline at 216-286-9740, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. though 1 p.m.
"We're working very, very hard to try to support them through what is understandably incredibly challenging situation, and we're working very hard to come up with more definitive answers for specific questions they may have as it relates to their own family", DePompei said.
Thousands of eggs and embryos may have been destroyed after a hospital fridge malfunctioned.
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.
A call center has also been set up to arrange personal meetings or calls with physicians. For some patients it could mean procedure fees would be waived for future treatment.
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