State lawmaker wants to regulate fertility clinics after UH freezer malfunction
NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - A state lawmaker wants to see more regulation of fertility clinics after more than 2,000 eggs and embryos were potentially damaged or destroyed at University Hospitals.
State senator Joe Schiavoni (D- Boardman) held a town hall meeting for families Monday night in Newburgh Heights.
He says more needs to be done to make sure this never happens again.
Unfortunately for many families, legislation like this will be too late to help.
It was a small gathering, where families came to share their stories and to find ways to prevent this from ever happening again.
Sylwia and Paul Sierko lost five embryos after the storage tank malfunction.
"We wanted a bigger house because we wanted to have more kids. But now we have two bedrooms that are empty," Sylwia Sierko said.
They have a six-year-old daughter that will now never have a sibling.
"We always planned on three kids, we always wanted to have a big family," she said.
Sylwia says she's more upset than angry. This was a second major blow to her family.
They froze their embryos as Sylwia fought cancer.
"You know having the feeling of where you're almost dead, and then you're trying to get your life back and you're trying to plan for the future and have something you're happy with, finally, it's like 'okay we can go forward now.' And then this happens," Sierko said.
State Senator Schiavoni is coming up with a plan for more regulation.
He wants to see multiple embryos from one couple stored in separate containers at fertility clinics.
He is also looking at ideas like mandating third party monitoring, an alarm and backup power-- with back up plans to the backup plan.
"Maybe we just need to come up with something that is sensible, realistic, reasonable, but to protect people," Sierko said.
It's too late for the Sierkos.
Sylwia doesn't think her body can take the physical toll not to mention the mental toll again.
She just wants one thing.
"We have decided that we want our embryos back because we want to have closure, I think it will help us somehow, hopefully. But I think it's something that will stay with us till we die," she said.
The Sierko family is part of one of several class action lawsuits against University Hospitals. This one is with the Peiffer Rosca Wolf Abdullah Carr & Cane law firm.
University Hospitals is still investigating what happened, and bought new storage tanks with alarms from a different company.
Schiavoni hopes to introduce a bill on this in the fall.
Families affected can contact his office if they would like to add their input:
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