University Hospitals notified the patients this week, explaining that a problem with one of two large freezers preserving the specimens at the hospital's fertility center was discovered last Sunday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
"At this point, we do not know the viability of all of the stored eggs and embryos, although we do know some have been impacted", said Patti DePompei, president of UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, in a video posted Thursday on Facebook.
The failure caused the temperature to rise, ultimately making the eggs and embryos at the facility lose their viability.
"We don't know the reasons why yet", DePompei told NBC News.
'But we do know that the temperature that was measured at a portion of the tank was higher than our acceptable limits'. Most women need many more rounds to even become pregnant.
Samples would need to be unthawed to determine whether they've been damaged.
The fertility center apologized for the mistake and said it plans to investigate how it happened.
University Hospitals is considering waiving fees for any future procedures for anyone who had eggs or embryos stored, according to WEWS future.
The storage tank had off-site monitoring and an audible alarm that would alert staff to such a temperature change. All of the tissue has since been transferred to a working tank. "We are working painstakingly to decide how we can best help them through the procedure", said DePompei. Harvesting and storing eggs cost patients thousands of dollars with one round of in vitro fertilization topping $15,000.
The hospital is reaching out to each patient individually, both through letter and phone call.
Between 2009 and 2015, the number of women freezing their eggs has jumped from 475 and to more than 6,200 according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology which represents most fertility clinics in the U.S., USA Today reported.
"Our hearts go out to the patients who have suffered this loss", Sean Tipton, chief policy officer at ASRM, told NBC News.