The Cold Chain of Precious Cargo

by Jennifer Lahl, CBC President on April 26, 2016

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Wired has just published a close look at the global cold chain of eggs, sperm, and embryos headed to the latest destination where paid surrogacy is legal: “Inside the Hidden Global Supply Chain for Frozen Sperm, Eggs, and Embryos.”

Typically, a cold chain is the transportation of things that have a limited shelf-life. Think food heading to your local grocery store or certain types of drugs that need to be kept at a specific temperature while being shipped and stored in order to maintain the effectiveness of the drug.

With the growing global markets of eggs, sperm, and embryos, companies like Cyroport, which specializes in the transport of biological materials, promote their technique as the best for maintaining the quality controls necessary to prevent harm and damage to early embryos and gametes.

According to the article,

Frozen cells don’t just need to be cold; they need to be cryogenically cold—like -240 degrees Fahrenheit . . . If sperm or embryos get above even -184 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s warm enough to restart some of the cellular process. It’s even more dire for eggs, which are full of liquid that can form razor-life ice crystals if they warm in the wrong conditions.

The IVF industry depends heavily on quality controls and quality assurances every step of the way because of the high failure rates of high-tech pregnancies.

What it really means is that the desire to have a child is so strong that many are willing to put early human life in harms way at nearly every step of the way.

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