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Life in Limbo: Leftover Embryos Vex Clinics, Couples

MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Chief Medical Writer
Created: January 17, 2019 10:24 AM

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - Tens of thousands of embryos left over from pregnancy attempts are stuck in limbo in fertility clinics across the United States.

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They've been abandoned or their owners can't decide what to do with them.

Tank failures at two clinics last year exposed hidden issues with long-stored embryos, including some from the 1980s when many places started offering IVF.

A few years ago, medical groups developed sample consent forms clinics could use for new patients, spelling out what could happen to unused embryos. But that hasn't resolved what to do with ones made long ago.

It's not known how many embryos are in storage. One study estimated there were 1.4 million. Researchers think 5 to 7 percent are abandoned, though it's as high as 18 percent at some clinics.

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MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Chief Medical Writer

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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