How Are Cryopreserved Eggs Shipped Safely?

For many different reasons, an individual or couple may find themselves needing cryopreserved eggs transported from one facility to another. 

Cryopreserved Eggs

Perhaps you’re unhappy with your current fertility clinic and are switching to another. Moving from one state or country is another reason for transfer. One of the most common reasons for transporting cryopreserved eggs is to send donor eggs to their intended parents. 

Whatever your reason, it’s crucial to understand what’s involved in safely shipping cryopreserved eggs.

Hiring the Right Type of Shipping Company

While UPS and FedEx are skilled in delivering traditional packages, transporting cryopreserved materials isn’t their forte. You can’t hire ‘just any’ shipping company and drop off a vial of frozen eggs for transfer. Instead, it’s key to find a reliable shipping company who specializes in the transport of medical devices and materials, such as cryopreserved sperm, oocytes (eggs), or embryos. 

These companies are not only highly-trained in the process of shipping cryopreserved materials, but they also have the necessary equipment to do so.

Using their expansive knowledge of the industry, they can help oversee the document handling and customs clearance processes needed when shipping eggs to another country. A trustworthy shipping facility will provide the opportunity for hopeful parents to digitally track the delivery route of their eggs.

Does Vitrification Help with the Safe Transfer of Frozen Eggs?

In past decades, a slow-freezing method was used for storing collected eggs. While these eggs were able to withstand some slight adjustments in temperature and conditions, scientists learned slow-freezing technology didn’t protect the eggs the way they needed to be.

Thankfully, an innovative new flash-freezing process known as vitrification was discovered in 2006.

This technology works to protect stored eggs from deterioration and ice-crystal formation by exposing them to advanced cryoprotectants before freezing.

While this state-of-the-art process has proven successful in the realm of infertility treatments, it can make the shipping process more challenging for couriers and facilities, as the eggs must be kept at temperatures below -120 degrees Celsius.

How are Vitrified Eggs Shipped Safely?

With such fragile specimens at risk, the process of shipping frozen eggs can sometimes feel like an impossible challenge, which leads to added stress during a struggle with infertility. However, with the right shipping company assisting you, there will be no need for worry and anxiety.

Protecting frozen eggs is a delicate process which involves a variety of steps to ensure they arrive safely at their destination. Two of the most significant components of this process are temperature control and stability.

To safely accommodate these needs, a thermos-style compartment – known as a dewar – is used to carry up to 35 embryos from one location to another.

Not only can a dewar keep the temperature of your eggs controlled for up to ten days at a time, but liquid nitrogen is poured into the vessel to help further freeze the specimens as they are. The dewar can manage the -120-degree Celsius temperatures needed to prevent the eggs from thawing out.

Special alarms are included inside the dewar to ensure all necessary environmental conditions are always maintained. These containers are fixed with a lighting mechanism which flashes green when things are good, and changes to red if there’s an issue which needs to be addressed.

Depending on their destination, cryopreserved eggs can be transported by vehicles outfitted with specialized equipment, or by air. Most shippers provide hands-on service during transfer. This promise means dewar containers are regulated as a carry-on object for air travel. For most shipments, the parcel of eggs will arrive in no more than 1-2 days.

Do All Clinics Accept Cryopreserved Eggs from Other Clinics?

Unless documents have been incorrectly filled out, there’s no reason one clinic should refuse an egg shipment from another. It’s a standard requisite for infertility treatment facilities to be educated in the process of freezing and storing eggs. 

While it’s not always known what an individual clinic’s acceptance process looks like, there shouldn’t be any difficulty getting them to receive your transported eggs.

Can Eggs Be Shipped Internationally?

Cryopreserved eggs can absolutely be shipped internationally. In the event you’re relocating to another country, reputable shipping facilities will oversee the entire transport process from start-to-finish. This includes learning about various requirements the receiving country may have and filling out any necessary customs documents.

In cases where frozen eggs are being shipped internationally, they’ll still be handled as a ‘hand-delivery’ and should arrive at the new location within a couple of days.

Do Reproductive Shipment Companies Provide Insurance for Eggs?

When you’re trying to conceive, you deserve the peace of mind which comes with knowing your frozen eggs are well take care of. Unfortunately, many shipping companies don’t provide additional insurance policies to cover your eggs in the event of damage or loss. The reason is because there’s no sound way of proving whether the damage occurred before the shipping company received the eggs or during transit.

Thankfully, most reputable shipping companies have impressive track records to protect their names. They hire extensively-screened couriers and provide high-level training to ensure your eggs are handled appropriately from the beginning of your shipment until delivery.

Safely Shipping Cryopreserved Eggs is Easier than Ever Before

Whether you’re transporting donor eggs or moving to a new location, there’s no need to stress about getting your frozen eggs where they need to go.

Given the advancements in freezing technologies and transportation, it’s entirely possible to relocate cryopreserved eggs without risking their integrity. For the greatest success, the best decision you can make is to hire a trustworthy shipping company who’s expertly-trained and well-reviewed.

While some hopeful parents will seek out these facilities on their own, it’s always wise to speak with your fertility clinic and find out if they already have a partnership in place with a specific courier or have a list of preferred options.

Navigating the complicated journey of infertility is no easy feat—don’t make the process any harder than it has to be when it comes to relocating your frozen eggs.