'Our future family ... is gone': Parents in two cities grieve their lost embryos

Kate and Jeremy Plants with a box of medications needed for in-vitro fertilization.

Story highlights

  • Fertility clinics in San Francisco and Cleveland fail on same day
  • Thousands of embryos may be destroyed; lawsuits filed in Cleveland; more to come

(CNN)When Kate and Jeremy Plants were making plans for their 2014 marriage, they had no idea the future they would face. Just months after they tied the knot, Kate was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a deadly form that the American Cancer Society says takes more lives than any other female reproductive cancer.

Because treatment could affect Kate's fertility, doctors encouraged the newlyweds to consider banking Kate's embryos so they could have children someday.
"So every other day for two weeks, we drove 45 minutes each way to the doctor," Kate recalled. "There were shots in stomach multiple times a day; I was high on hormones; it was very stressful. And the whole time, I don't know if the cancer is spreading, and I'm thinking, 'Do I have time for this?' "
    What happened next, says Kate, could only be called a blessing. In the world of in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, it's not unusual for couples to undergo numerous rounds of expensive, painful procedures to obtain a viable embryo, if it happens at all.
    Yet for Kate and Jeremy, the first and only round of IVF produced five excellent embryos.
    "The fact that my one working ovary could produc