Causes & Treatment

Moving your embryos, sperm or eggs? Read this first

Jessie Day, in partnership with Cryoport Systems  |   24 Nov 2022


It’s one of the most important moves you’ll ever make. When it comes to transporting your reproductive materials, only a world-class shipping service will do. But knowing where to begin when booking a specialty IVF courier can be difficult, especially if you aren’t working with a fertility clinic who can connect the dots for you.

Cryoport System’s Fertility Shipping Services combine extensive industry knowledge with unmatched logistics expertise. With 62% of US IVF clinics currently entrusting Cryoport Systems with their shipments and over 600,000 journeys completed globally across 22 years of service, they know what’s involved in a seamless transfer.

The Cryoport Systems team is ready to coordinate with your clinic – contact Cryoport Systems today at ivf@cryoport.com for a bespoke quote.

Interested in shipping embryos, sperm or gametes with Cryoport Systems, but your clinic hasn’t worked with us before? No problem. Jackie Frost, Cryoport Systems’ Associate Director of Reproductive Medicine says, “We’ll need your contact details and the name of your clinic. From there, we’ll connect with your clinic to discuss who we are, and how pick-up and delivery works.”

We’ve teamed up with Cryoport Systems to give you the top no-nos – and the questions to ask – when organizing your upcoming IVF shipment.

6 red flags to watch out for when choosing an IVF courier

Exceptional IVF and sperm transportation is based on crystal-clear communication, faultless equipment, standardized logistics, and a nonstop condition monitoring system that tracks each shipment. Each transfer requires a premium level of care and should only be handled by a dedicated team that has a robust understanding of how to manage this unique shipment.

Here are the red flags Cryoport advises you to watch out for when choosing an embryo, oocyte, sperm, or IVF courier, and what you should be asking before scheduling your shipment.

1. A generic courier service

A traditional courier service can deliver pretty much anything. Most don’t have the expertise, however, to handle a shipment that contains reproductive materials. This is because they lack the ability to monitor specific equipment conditions, manage clinic coordination, or have an in-depth understanding of what the shipment contains and how to handle it, in order to maximize its cryogenic hold time.

With a generic courier service, you’re running the risk that your precious reproductive materials will arrive damaged at your clinic or delivery location. Whether this is due to temperature control, sanitation, or other factors, it’s not worth the risk.

You’re putting everything into your family-building journey, and your fertility shipping partner should be adding a layer of reassurance, rather than more stress or worry.

Cryoport-courier-service-IVF-courier

2. Dirty shippers

How clean are your shippers? What are your cleaning processes? These are vital questions for your IVF courier, and they should be very easy to answer. The more detail you can get, the better, and you should cross-check with your clinic to ensure that the procedures are sufficient.

As part of the Cryoport Systems network, all clients and partners benefit from Veri-Clean®, which is the industry’s first and only validated cleaning and disinfection process. This groundbreaking methodology virtually eliminates the risk of cross-contamination by using a multi-purpose reagent effective against bacteria, fungi, and multiple viruses. It’s guaranteed to reduce external contaminants by 99.9999%.

Veri-Clean® is a highly specialized aspect of Cryoport Systems’ reproductive medicine services and one of the reasons so many clinics across the globe choose to partner with them for shipping arrangements. If you’re uncertain about your shipper’s sanitization credentials, pause and make inquiries. It is never too much to ask that you get a full run-down of how – and if – the equipment is cleaned.

3. Faulty equipment

Like most things, equipment can also get damaged in transit. However, these aren’t ordinary shippers, and we need to ensure they receive maximum care and attention. Your fertility courier’s customer service team should be able to outline the conditions they actively monitor, and the methods they use, including:

  • external/internal shipper damage
  • temperature changes throughout journey
Cryoport-shipping-services-faulty-tanks

We’d love to think that faulty equipment doesn’t make it into circulation. But unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and it might not be until something goes wrong with a shipment that the tank gets removed for maintenance.

Cryoport Systems requalifies each liquid nitrogen-based dry shipper after every single use, testing each returned shipper for external and internal damage and to assure that it can hold a cryogenic temperature of -150 °C for up to 10 days. Any tank that doesn’t pass the requalification process is removed from Cryoport Systems’ fleet, and recycled.

Before arranging transportation, consult your clinic regarding temperature requirements. It’s absolutely vital that you’re confident in the condition monitoring processes your IVF courier has in place, to ensure the equipment isn’t faltering at such an important point in your family-building journey.

4. Poor communication (with you and/or your clinic)

Your IVF shipping provider might state their processes are failproof, but if you can’t ask a question or keep up with the location of your shipment, the journey is going to be unnecessarily stressful and potentially higher-risk. Cryoport Systems’ cutting-edge technology continuously monitors all shipments, with sophisticated data tracking to confirm internal temperature, orientation, and location.

It’s not just about technology, though. The team managing your shipment is a pivotal part of the process – it helps if they have a thorough understanding of the materials they’re helping to transfer. Cryoport Systems’ customer service team is highly experienced, entirely aware of how precious each shipment is, and trained to support you throughout the process.

Shipping-sperm-eggs-embryos-Cryoport-shipping-services

5. Tracking issues

Every step of the way – it’s a core aspect of quality customer service support which Cryoport Systems takes very seriously. If it’s not possible to track your precious shipment or have a dedicated number to call for updates, the service you’re looking at may not be the right fit.

Jackie says, “Our customer service team continuously monitors our shipments while in transit – we have a system where we’re able to actively see the location of the shipment. We are happy to answer questions on the phone and communicate with the clinic if necessary. We’re there to give full support to our clients, who are usually pretty nervous about going through this transport in the first place.”

Quiz your IVF courier about their tracking capabilities, how you’ll receive updates – and how often – and who to contact with issues while your reproductive materials are in transit.

6. A sinking feeling …

From your fertility clinic to your donor bank, gestational carrier, and therapist, you’ve likely made some really big decisions across your family-building journey. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right, and trust is a fundamental part of the process. Look at the available insurance options – Cryoport Systems offers specific coverage for added peace of mind – and make sure you’re clear on the journey ahead before moving forward.

If you’ve gone through the points above and some boxes are still unticked, or you instinctively feel your shipment option may not be quite right, pause and reassess. Speak to your clinic, look carefully at dates, do some more research, and go with a provider you feel confident in.

The Cryoport Systems Reproductive Medicine team is ready to coordinate with you and your clinic – contact them today at ivf@cryoport.com or visit their website to find out how to get the process started.

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