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State Sen. Joe Schiavoni Is Preparing Legislation To Better Regulate Fertility Storage Facilities

photo of Joe Schiavoni
State Sen. Schiavoni says he's working on the bill to provide greater oversight, and should be ready to introduce it in this fall's session in the Statehouse.

Ohio could become a leader in the U.S. when it comes to regulating how fertility clinics store and handle frozen embryos.

The legislation being worked on by State Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Youngstown comes in the wake of a freezer failure at University Hospitals in March. The failure resulted in about 4,000 frozen eggs and embryos being lost, and the hospital system is facing more than 100 lawsuits.

Schiavoni says he’s been gathering information from people affected by the failure, as well as healthcare professionals. Their recommendations include not storing all of a patient’s embryos in one location, and also having personnel monitor storage tanks 24 hours-a-day.

“You don’t want to do knee-jerk-reaction legislation. And that’s why I didn’t just drop a bill immediately with a bunch of mandates and requirements.”

Schiavoni adds that writing the bill has become more complex than he anticipated since the industry is largely self-regulated, and there does not seem to be any similar legislation in-place in other states, or at the federal level.

Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. While a Kent State student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.