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Why This Fertility Doctor Refused To Evacuate For Hurricane Irma


More than 650,000 Floridians have been given orders to evacuate Miami-Dade County to keep away from Hurricane Irma.

But Dr. Armando Hernandez-Rey ― a reproductive endocrinologist with a thriving follow in Coral Gables ― gained’t be one in every of them.

Instead, the 46-year-old spent the hours after Miami’s mayor expanded the evacuation orders on Thursday making certain that the saved eggs, sperm and embryos in his clinic will safely journey out Irma, one of the crucial powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded. 

“We haven’t had a big hurricane here in South Florida for over 12 years. We’ve had skirmishes, if you will, but nothing like this,” Hernandez-Rey informed HuffPost on Thursday night. “In my practice, we’ve got a lot of things that can potentially go wrong.”

That follow ― Conceptions Florida ― is a busy one, doing upwards of 400 in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles a yr for women and couples who’re struggling to conceive. And these cycles are costly. The common worth of a single spherical of IVF nationally is $12,400; many infertile sufferers should bear a number of rounds.

On Thursday, greater than a dozen sufferers referred to as the clinic to verify on what would occur to their eggs, sperm and embryos through the storm. Many of them are in the midst of IVF cycles. 

“A patient, who is also a physician and a friend of mine, called me a half an hour ago and said, ’Listen, we’re heading out. We’re leaving, but I’m really wigging out about my one embryo,” Hernandez-Rey stated. That affected person is in her early 40s, has a historical past of being pregnant loss from chromosomal abnormalities, and has only one genetically regular embryo saved with the clinic. 

“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,” he stated. “But anything can happen. I just didn’t feel comfortable leaving with the possibility that something could go wrong.” The constructing has hurricane-impact home windows, and Hernandez-Rey stated they loaded up on sandbags.

He feels notably protecting of the clinic because the fast-moving storm meant the clinic was unable to maneuver lots of their samples to 3rd get together holding facilities, which have been overwhelmed by demand.

“We’ve received so many [samples] saved,” he stated. “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.”

When he spoke to HuffPost, Hernandez-Rey, his spouse and their two youngsters have been busy getting ready to go away their house to maneuver to the one lodge room they might discover ― about 15 minutes from the clinic.

Hernandez-Rey, who grew up in Florida and lived by means of Hurricane Andrew, remembers the efforts of reproductive endocrinologists who rushed to rescue embryos when the facility went out at NYU’s fertility middle throughout Hurricane Sandy. He is “cautiously optimistic” that he has made the appropriate name.

“Every hotel since Hurricane Andrew has to have hurricane-impact windows. The structures are different now. So it’s not bravado,” he stated. “I think we’re going to be OK. I think the city’s going to be in shambles. But I’ve got to protect what’s in the tanks.”


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