Complaints Filed: Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco

Pacific Coast Fertility Clinic


Hersh & Hersh was the first firm to develop the specialty in the area of reproductive medicine, including the liability of fertility clinics and sperm banks. Hersh & Hersh successfully represented a plaintiff  20 years ago in a landmark case arising out of the transfer of the wrong embryo to our client which resulted in a custody battle over the child.

More recently, Hersh & Hersh successfully represented multiple families whose children were conceived with donor sperm from a sperm bank which resulted in children at risk for schizophrenia. We are presently representing families with children conceived of donor sperm who have children with autism.

Today Hersh & Hersh is representing individuals who had eggs and/or sperm in Tank 4 at Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco when the tank failed last March due to the conduct of multiple parties.  The litigation is currently proceeding and Hersh & Hersh has filed complaints in the San Francisco Superior Court.



How to select your fertility clinic

Many men and women, for one reason or another, elect to preserve their eggs, create their embryos, transfer their embryos, promote pregnancy and birth of children to love and cherish. Selecting a good fertility clinic is difficult. Website advertise success rates. Doctors with whom you consult promote their clinics. You are encourages or “advised” to undergo expensive treatments. Your savings can be depleted. Therefore, you must be careful and selective before you commit.

Research! Research a few different things, for example:

         – Doctors’ Backgrounds: Look online to see if the clinic or any of the doctors have been sued. Do a search on the relevant medical board for each of the doctors’ licenses and for any complaints related to the doctor. Speak to people with experience in the field.

         – Costs: Compare costs and find out what is provided for what you are charged.

         – Lab Operations: Ask how the lab is run and supervised. Ask whether any other entity is involved in the clinic or lab operations. Ask whether or not any mistakes have been made, e.g. eggs or embryos destroyed, embryos switched, dropped or destroyed, or any damage to tissue.

         – Compensation structure: Ask whether or not the doctors’ pay is determined by how many patients they sign up. Ask about the clinic and lab payment structure.

         – Risks: Ask about the risks and how often they can occur and how often they have occurred in this particular clinic or lab.

The bottom line is ASK QUESTIONS. Be your own health advocate. Compare and contrast. Be as careful as possible.

Fertility Treatment: The Educated Consumer

Beware of the fertility clinics’ practices and protections. Read the contract carefully looking for language that would relieve the clinic of responsibility for destruction of embryos and eggs. Ask before you sign the contract with the fertility clinic:

1. How they assure that you will receive your embryo and not that of someone else;

2. How they protect your frozen embryos and/or eggs from thawing and becoming unusable;

3. What representations they make concerning successful IUI, IVF, ICSI and egg and embryo freezing;

4. What their rate of success is respecting pregnancy with live birth as outcome;

5. What their failure rate is with IUI, IVF, ICSI;

6. How many clients have made claims against them for anything;

7. How many times they have been sued as a clinic or with respect to an individual physician or embryologist;

8. What are the qualifications of their embryologist;

9. Do they recommend sperm banks or egg donor banks and, if so, do they have a financial interest in the banks they recommend.

There are many other avenues of inquiry. Make sure you are an educated consumer because fertility treatment is extremely expensive, financially and emotionally.

Protecting Your Health: How to Be Your Own Health Advocate

Too often people are intimidated by health care providers and follow their direction without asking important questions. They often fail to do what they can to protect themselves by asking those questions and not being afraid to do so or by going on the internet to research a drug prescribed or a surgical procedure recommended.

I always encourage people to ask questions, do research and even call me for advice BEFORE undergoing a surgical procedure or taking a particular drug. In my work as San Francisco injury lawyer, I have represented many patients who ultimately became harmed by drugs and procedures they did not know would hurt them. Sometimes they were never informed of the risks involved in taking the medication or having a particular surgical procedure or medical device implant.

Health care providers are required by law to obtain an informed consent whenever they recommend treatment. In California, our supreme court has established that a physician is required to disclose “all information relevant to a meaningful decisional process.” Cobbs v. Grant (1972) 8 Cal.3d 229, 242. That means doctors and other medical practitioners must tell patients what alternatives exist to recommended treatment, what risks are presented by the recommended treatment, and what to expect if they follow the medical advice being given them.

In our law practice, we have represented many clients who have suffered serious injury as a result of having been inadequately informed. At trial involving patient injuries, often the jury instructions we propose which are well-established in California have to do with informed consent, the failure to provide informed consent and related issues that a jury must decide.

When a doctor prescribes a drug, the patient needs to ask the following questions:

First, why are you prescribing this drug and are there other drugs that perform the same or similar functions? Second, is this a new drug on the market? (Doctors are very susceptible to persuasion by drug reps that they should try new drugs which do not have a track record and can be dangerous); Third, what are the side effects of the drug; are there any side effects that can cause death or serious injury?; Fourth, what should I look for when taking the drug to determine whether or not I am suffering ill effects from the drug; what should I do if any changes occur after I begin to take the drug?

After these questions are answered, the patient should go on line and research the drug for side effects. The Food and Drug Administration has a website where one can access adverse event reports pertaining to drugs and medical devices which are on the market. That is also a good resource for information. Taking these steps might well avoid the types of serious injuries that our clients have suffered from drugs prescribed by their physicians.

If you have concerns after asking these questions and researching the drug itself, call your doctor and discuss these with him or her. Do not feel that you are being a “difficult” patient or are outside your rights to be very comfortable about your own health. Do not let your physician or medical staff cause you to believe that you do not have a right to know these things. You do. If you believe that your doctor is not willing to fully discuss and address your concerns, consider finding a physician that is more open and willing to go through this process with you.

The same issues and concerns for patients apply to recommended surgical procedures. Next post, I will share important information about informing yourself about surgical risks.

If you or a loved one has been injured after taking a drug or having a surgical procedure, we can help. Contact our law firm to speak with one of our lawyers, experts in the fields of medical device and defective drug litigation. We can help you assess your legal rights and get the support you need.

Traumatic Brain Injury: How does it happen? How do you know if it has happened to you?

Often called concussion, post concussion syndrome or mild traumatic brain injury, these injuries can happen to anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision, particularly if you are struck from the rear. If your head and neck flex and extend in a rear-end collision, your brain moves in your skull and hits the front and the back of the skull. This motion and contact can cause injury to the brain which is not perceptible on MRI, but exists and has an impact on your life nevertheless.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision and, afterwards, are dizzy, confused, have memory loss, have ringing in your ears, get lost on old routes to and from familiar places, are sensitive to light and noise and have other unusual for you responses to your environment, you might have a concussion or TBI. If the symptoms last beyond three months, you likely have a traumatic brain injury.

Most people recover completely but some, the silent minority, do not recover and while they look normal and people expect them to be themselves, they are contending with confusion, memory loss, ringing in their ears and other problems that affect their home and work lives. These people need neurologist who cares and understands, and possibly a neuropsychologist who can quantitate the damage to the patient’s brain. Don’t feel isolated and alone. Get the appropriate medical care and, if necessary, cognitive therapy and recognize that you have a very real injury.

If you or a loved one have been involved in an auto or truck accident, or any other type of motor vehicle accident and you are experiencing the symptoms described above, you might have sustained a traumatic brain injury. If another person caused the accident to occur, you might be in a position to get help with your medical needs and legal rights. For an evaluation of your situation, please contact our law firm, Hersh and Hersh for a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.