In The News: Fertility Doctor Refused to Evacuate During Hurricane Irma To Safeguard Gametes and Embryos

Egg storage for IVF

Hurricane Irma is causing devastation around Florida, and Miami’s mayor ordered locals to evacuate the area to stay safe—but one doctor refused to comply.

Armando Hernandez-Rey, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist who works at Conceptions Florida, fielded calls from concerned patients when the storm began building—couples were understandably worried about what would happen to their eggs, sperm and embryos during the storm—after all, the specimens need to be stored in a very specific way, and it’s natural to think destruction from the storm could destroy materials that are necessary for couples who are undergoing fertility treatments.

Dr. Hernandez-Rey reportedly took one particular call from a patient who had a single genetically-normal embryo stored and ready for implantation, and she was nervous the embryo would be ruined beyond repair in the storm.

“I told her, ‘we’ve got a $150,000 generator in the building, our building is built like Fort Knox, we’ve topped off all the tanks with liquid nitrogen. So even if we lose the generator, we’ve got enough liquid nitrogen [to keep frozen specimen viable] for two weeks.’ But anything can happen. I just didn’t feel comfortable leaving with the possibility that something could go wrong,” the doctor told the Huffington Post.“We’ve got so many [samples] stored. We’re affiliated with the cancer center, so we have probably about three or four samples from men who are about to start chemotherapy. They stored with us to preserve their fertility. If we lose that, they’ve got none left.”​

So the doctor did whatever he could: He loaded up the office with sandbags, and ignored evacuation warnings to prepare his offices for the storm. While there’s no way of knowing what’ll happen to the materials until after the storm subsides. Dr. Hernandez-Rey can only promise his patients one thing: He will do his absolute best to protect their chances of having their dream families.

To our patients, family and friends,We are hoping and praying for Irma to turn away and spare us. However, like all of…

Posted by Conceptions Florida – Dr. Armando Hernandez-Rey and Dr. Sinem Karipcin on Thursday, September 7, 2017

“To our patients, family and friends, We are hoping and praying for Irma to turn away and spare us. However, like all of you, we have been preparing for a direct hit on Miami. Our top priority is taking care of the embryos, eggs, and sperm in the lab,” the specialist wrote in a Facebook post on September 7. “Our lab is less than two years old so it was built to the highest hurricane standards. We have hurricane impact windows in the office and a generator inside a hurricane proof bunker that is directly connected to natural gas lines that run underground.”

Fertility issues can feel like emotional storms in and of themselves, and it’s amazing to hear of a doctor who is so committed to helping his patients achieve their desired results. We’re sending our best wishes to Dr. Hernandez-Rey and all his patients, who are obviously in extraordinary hands.


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  1. awwwww this is dedication!!! It never occurred to me to think about frozen gamete and this hurricanes. Would be so devastating, God help them. God bless Dr. Hernandez-Rey


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