OTTAWA, February 19, 2002 ( – The Ottawa Hospital is facing a lawsuit over the loss of frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization at the hospital's Fertility Clinic. The Ottawa Citizen reports that Laura Palmer and her husband, Ronald Matyas, say the hospital negligently allowed three of their frozen embryos to be destroyed in February 2000. The embryos were left over from a successful implantation of embryos which resulted in the birth of a baby girl.

Sue Grant, the hospital's patient-relations co-ordinator told the Citizen that patients at the Fertility Clinic are given the choice of keeping the leftover embryos cryopreserved at -196C in a freezing unit, or allowing the hospital to destroy the extras “in a manner consistent with ethical professional standards.” The preservation of the frozen embryos costs $200 a year and the hospital sends a registered letter every year asking the parents if they wish to continue to pay for their embryonic children's preservation.

While it would not comment on the case specifically, the Fertility Clinic estimates 50 per cent of the embryos do not survive the freezing and thawing process, and when implanted, have only a 15-per-cent chance of resulting in a surviving till birth.

(with files from Pro-Life E-news)