The teamwork even earned Grifo and his staff the National Infertility Association's hope award – the "Oscar" of the fertility world, according to association president and CEO Barbara Collura.
"As we dug into it we realized how really extraordinary this was on so many levels, and we wanted to reward that," said Collura, adding that Manhattan-based New Hope Fertility Center will also be awarded at a Nov. 6 ceremony for its willingness to take on extra patients. "Both clinics totally get what it's about. They did this under an extraordinary set of circumstances. Some of their staff were working night and day living out of in hotels."
But it was well worth it, according to Grifo. The rescued eggs and embryos were frozen until the NYU clinic was back up and running, and not a single cycle was lost. Eggs frozen during the storm yielded a 60 percent live birth rate – a rate on par with a national average calculated under less stormy conditions.
Grifo said he still has a bit of "post-traumatic stress" from the ordeal, but that he now feels prepared for just about anything.
"Another hurricane? Yeah, we're prepared," he said. "This showed us the importance of having backup plans for your backup plans. We did, and it saved a lot of cycles."