Sperm banks are older practice than egg banks. In western countries like the USA, egg freezing is not an experimental endeavor after 2012 as an announcement made by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Currently, many egg banks provide the facility to freeze the surplus eggs from the intended mother or egg donor for future fertility treatment. Frozen anonymous egg donation practice in the USA also performed. Egg banks screen thoroughly before the donation process starts to prevent infection, genetic disorder, and other inherited medical conditions.
The donated eggs are utilized for the traditional IVF cycle. At the initial phase, hormonal stimulation are used to overproduction of eggs in the ovaries. Ultrasound imaging tests are repeatedly performed in this stage to know how many eggs are developing.
The minimally invasive procedure requires egg retrieval. After removing the eggs from the ovaries of the donor are frozen for shipping purposes.
The shipping of donated eggs or eggs that are collected for intended parents for IVF treatment is becoming a popular trend now, as people are relocating. For egg shipment freezing method is preferred to maintain the viability and quality of the eggs. The critical analysis of the egg shipping idea is found to be a safe option. However, national no data obtain yet to confirm that egg shipping is best for now instead of using in-house or non-shipping egg donation.
Vitrification and Transportation Process are important factors in egg shipping?
In this process, the liquid is solidified due to the quick enhancement of viscosity with the rapid cooling process to avoid crystallization. Therefore, intracellular and extracellular tissues get protection from ice formation. The vitrification process is a cost-effective technique.
High osmolality solution is used with quick immersion in liquid nitrogen and resultant of this leads to shortening the freezing time. At the initial developmental phase, ovarian tissues can be preserved by using vitrification. But the chance of necrosis of the ovarian tissue is high. Later improvement of vitrification technique becomes a consistent approach for the oocyte cryopreservation. Novel advancement of the technique launched needle immersion vitrification, which gives better survival of human follicle tissues and ovarian tissues.
Vitrification is effective to cryopreserve eggs and embryos. But this process requires lots of care like maintenance of temperature at 1200C during the shipping of cryopreserving eggs. Deviation of the temperature hampers the viability of eggs. For long-term storage, the cryo-storage tank needs to fill with liquid nitrogen that has to be kept in -1960C. The stability of the temperature during egg shipping is a critical criterion.
During egg shipping, eggs are placed in a shipping dewar that contains liquid nitrogen to maintain the required temperature. Then the shipping dewar surrounded with dry shipper with “retention foam”. Retention foam acts like a sponge and can absorb some liquid nitrogen, releasing only vapor. The aim to use a dry shipper is to maintain a low temperature between -1500 to 1900C for several days (almost more than a week). FedEx and UPS two entrusted egg shippers in countries like Atlanta.
It has been estimated that every year, 1,500 - 2,500 vitrified donor eggs are shipped between clinics. Usually, every clinic accepts cryo-preserved eggs/embryos from any other clinic. Depending upon the distance between the two clinics, the egg shipping arrangement differs. Hand delivery is possible if both clinics are located in the same city. Approximately, $200 – $400 cost requires for shipping eggs/embryos longer distances within the U.S. However, this charge varies depending on the arrangement the shipping clinic has with the shipping companies.