When we receive an inquiry about our frozen embryo/sperm/eggs shipping options, most people are somewhat nervous about the whole process and have many questions, such as: Who can we trust? How much does it cost? Are we getting a fair deal? Will my embryos be ok going through Customs? How do you carry them? What is your experience like? Do you offer any guarantees/refunds? What is the benefit of hand-carry vs. commercial courier service? etc.
We would like to address some of these questions in this blog post.
Who can we trust with our IVF shipment? This is a personal matter more so than the other questions. There are a few IVF courier services available. Which one is right for you will depend on your service needs, budget and interaction with service providers. As for us, we always welcome emails, phone calls, Skype meetings or any other way that you wish to communicate. A lot of our Asian customers use Line and WeChat or WhatsApp. North American customers tend to use email, phone and Facebook Messenger.
Costs: At CryoSend, we quote on each case separately. We do not have a one-price-fits-all policy. A quote is created for each request based upon pick-up and drop-off locations and time-line.
Will my embryos/sperm/eggs be safe throughout the journey? Yes. We have been transporting IVF bio-materials since 2009. So far we have never had a mishap. If things are done properly and planned for, there is very little chance of something going wrong, especially with our hand-carry option. We carry all of our shipments in validated shippers that can maintain cryogenic temperatures for up to 12 days.
We are often also asked about guarantees and refunds should something go wrong. Fortunately, we have a perfect delivery record since 2009. It is difficult for the IVF frozen embryos, frozen sperm or frozen eggs to melt while in the shipping tank – assuming that the proper preparations have been done. It is difficult to get insurance coverage for IVF courier shipments. Insurance can be found, but it is usually very expensive. Our policy is generally that if we fail to deliver the shipment as agreed upon, we will refund the money paid to us for the expected service. It is important to realize that nothing is 100% fail-proof, however, we have never encountered any serious issues while transporting IVF shipments.
What are the benefits of hand-carry vs. commercial courier service? This is a question we often get when people are considering their options for transporting their IVF embryos, eggs or sperm. At CryoSend, we offer both options. The majority of our clients choose our hand-carry service, especially for transporting frozen embryos and eggs. Sperm, it has the image of being rough and tough and able to survive being thrown around in a box into and out of airplanes and trucks. Perhaps. Both options are valid and your choice will depend on your comfort level with commercial couriers and most importantly your budget. we have successfully shipped both via hand-carry and commercial courier. Personally, I would send my frozen eggs and frozen embryos via a hand-carry option. Part of this reason is that frozen embryos are in delicate plastic straws, very thin straws. Whereas sperm is in vials – thicker plastic vials. These vials can withstand more harsh treatment than straws. We have seen animal embryos in straws that have escaped the canister chamber in the shipper and have fallen within the main chamber of the shipper. This could only happen if the shipment was treated in a rather rough manner. We also have it from good sources (former shipping center employees), that shipments are not always treated with the delicate care that commercial couriers claim to provide. So…if the frozen embryos, sperm or eggs are your last available, then I would definitely recommend using a hand-carry service. If the sperm is just one collection, and more to be had, then sending it via a commercial courier route is acceptable. On the other hand, some of our clients are unable to produce more sperm and what they have is all that they have and will not be able to get more – in that case, we can confidently recommend to go with a hand-carry service.
We welcome inquiries and questions from IVF patients and clinics.