When Hurricane Sandy ravaged New York City early this week it hit the lower portion of Manhattan particularly badly. NYU Fertility Center, located at 38th Street and First Avenue, was outside of the severe flood zone, but nevertheless lost power on Monday evening. As the basement began to fill with water, the fire department made the decision to shut down the generator because they worried it might become a fire hazard. This is when NYU’s staff rolled up their sleeves and pumped out the water in order to keep the generator rolling through the night.
The NYU team was aggressively trying to protect their precious assets. Although the frozen eggs, embryos and sperm were never in danger as they are frozen in liquid nitrogen, which does not depend on a power source, the fresh embryos were a different matter. The incubators holding these delicate embryos stored at womb-temperature for IVF were starting to cool. Dr. Jamie Grifo, NYU Fertility’s Medical Director and his team took jumped into action and carried large cans of diesel up the five flights of stairs to the clinic.
Dr. Grifo commented: “There were heroes here. It’s amazing what people can do when everyone’s on the same page. It’s a testament to the people in New York who work in medicine,” he went onto add that “some of our most vicious competitors offered assistance.”
“Acts of god,” like Hurricane Sandy, are things that we rarely think about when we start the fertility process. Thank god for such dedicated clinics like NYU who go above and beyond not just in a time of crisis, but day in and day out to ensure our precious and delicate assets are protected.