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Moving embryos



It’s official – our embryos are moving from Lexington to Cincinnati on August 20th. Well, actually they leave Lexington on the 20th and arrive in Cincinnati on the 21st. True to form, I have agonized over how to move my embryos for weeks now. Some days I get so worked up over it that my stomach starts to hurt. I went through a whole lot of hell and expense to make these. What if the shippers treat them like Fed Ex treated my last order from Zappos? That box showed up so damaged that I was surprised any shoes were left in it.

I considered four ways to ship our embryos:

  1. Borrow a tank from my clinic and transfer the embryos myself. Cost: FREE. It is only an hour and a half to my new clinic, so this seemed a logical choice for most women. However, I have the worst driving record of anyone I know. Not only am I not a great driver, I have incredibly bad luck and have been hit multiple times by other people when I am at a complete standstill. I also seem to get hit by others at the worst possible times: right before moving from Florida to Alabama, again right before moving from Alabama to Kentucky and again the morning that my new insurance policy kicked in. Then there are the accidents that are clearly my fault – like the motorcyclist I hit at the tender at of 16. And the air conditioner unit I plowed into in college. And the sports car I rear ended under an overpass during rush hour. I could go on, but you all get my point. Not only am I a bad driver, other bad drivers seek me out.
  2. Work with Xytex Cryo’s reproductive tissue transfer program. Cost: $490. For $490 plus a refundable $850 tank deposit, Xytex will send a tank to the Lexington clinic, arrange a shipping company to collect it and move it up to Ohio. Initially the Professor and I felt best about this. Xytex’s business is in tissue storage/transfer. They know what they are doing and the added cost would be worth it. I was all set to use this company and called for additional information. The sales rep, Angela, was incredibly rude and did not answer my questions. Instead she rushed me off the phone saying she would send the rental agreement to me and I just return it with my credit card number. When I called back to ask more questions she was incredibly vague and did not leave me feeling like my precious maybe-babies would be cared for. There is no insurance available with Xytex.
  3. Work with ReproTech, another service similar to Xytex Cryo. Cost: $650. Reprotech would be more expensive and would require that both the Professor and I have additional blood testing done. This is also a three-way transfer, meaning my embryos  go from Kentucky, to their facility, get repackaged and then go to Ohio. This seems ridiculous considering that my new clinic is only 90 minutes away. The three-way transfer also adds another opportunity for disaster – Tank 1 might do great, but Tank 2 could be a dud. There is no insurance available with ReproTech.
  4. Allow my Lexington clinic to manage the transfer via UPS. Cost: $115. My clinic owns their own tank. This tank has foam inside so when the liquid nitrogen (or whatever is used to keep the embryos frozen – forgive me I am not a scientist) is poured in it surrounds them all and there is no coolant sloshing. The tank has a light that stays green as long as ideal temperatures are maintained the entire time. If the temperature dips below a certain  level then the light turns red – so we will know if something happened. Basically, this is the same tank as would be used by Xytex or ReproTech. She would prepare the embryos and then UPS would ship them via overnight mail to Ohio. The embryologist at my current clinic explained that she ships embryos all the time and, knock on everything wooden within arms reach, she has never had a problem. There is no insurance available with UPS.

Y’all, this is a HARD decision! None of these are standout options. You know what I want? I want a skilled embryologist with a fantastic driving record to pick them up on Sunday and drive them him or herself VERY SLOWLY to Ohio. I want him or her to talk to them along the way. I want him or her to avoid speed bumps and stupid people. I want him or her to feel that these embryos are the most important things on EARTH and care for them as if they his own children. But that is not an option.

Ultimately we went with Option No. 4. Why? The embryologist gave me lots of good information and was patient with my onslaught of questions. She has done this before and feels confident in it. There is no insurance available no matter how we go. I would rather be out $115 dollars and have no embryos then be out $650.

So today it was decided. I gave her my credit card number and now just have to sit back and wait till next Monday and Tuesday, when I will begin obsessively refreshing my UPS tracking information.

Now – While I appreciate all your suggestions and input on things, I can’t handle any negative “let’s scare the bejesus out of Belle” stories. So, if you don’t have something nice and positive to say, please keep it to yourself until August 22. 🙂 Also, I hope none of you ever have to transfer embryos to another clinic. It’s miserably stressful!



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  1. August 13, 2012

    Given those options I am sure I would make the same decision.

  2. August 13, 2012

    We donated our “leftover” embryos to another couple, who had them transported from our clinic in southern California to their clinic in Memphis using our clinic’s dry shipper. They used one of UPS’s competitors–can’t remember which one now–and the embryos arrived safely in Memphis with no problems or issues.

    Here’s hoping yours enjoy the same uneventful transit on their (much shorter) journey from Lexington to Cincinnati.

  3. August 13, 2012

    yay! next step is happening! I would definitely be all for option #1 or #4, and given your clinic has had good success and no issues, I see no reason not to use it. Good luck!

  4. Jen #
    August 13, 2012

    I would have done the exact same thing. Number one would be waaaay too much pressure and you’d never forgive yourself if something went wrong. The other ones are too pricey. Good decision!

  5. August 13, 2012

    I don’t have any experience with shipping embyros, but I have had experience in shipping sperm. When I was using donor sperm, I had it shipped from a bank half way across the country to my clinic. It was sent via a courier service and arrived safe and sound. I think you went with the best option. 🙂

  6. August 13, 2012

    Did you pack them things to do in the car? Snacks? DVDs? What is the driver going to do when the embryos kick and punch each other from the back seat, and “breathe on me” and “she’s giving me weird looks” ?? DID YOU ASK ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS, BELLE??? (hehehe) Good luck shipping the embies, I hope everyone comes out okay on the other side!

    • August 15, 2012

      LOL! Too funny, Robin 🙂 I’ll call UPS and make some requests…

  7. August 13, 2012

    Sounds like a good plan to me! I will be keeping your embies in my thoughts and prayers especially the 20th through 22nd.

  8. August 13, 2012

    Sounds like you made the right choice. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly!

  9. August 13, 2012

    Geez. For $500 I’d be willing to pack them and drive them. Honestly, I think you made the best decision given the options. Option 3 scares me (why in the world is there a lay-over???), I wouldn’t trust myself with option 1 and option 2 sounded great until you started talking about the sales rep. On that note, if you’re feeling up to it, I would call back and ask to speak to her manager. Then tell them exactly what you told us. Because, as a business owner, I would be pissed that I lost a customer because my customer service rep didn’t do her job. And she’s not doing her job.

    Fingers are crossed for the move!

  10. Shelley #
    August 13, 2012

    This sounds like such a crazy ordeal. FWIW, I totally think you made the best choice and I know your embryos will join all the others that made the journey safe and sound. I’ll be thinking of them next Monday though!

  11. August 13, 2012

    I just wrote about how I will have to move my embies and don’t know how that works. Thanks for doing the legwork!!! But – HOLY CROW! What huge differences in price and…. EVERYTHING!

  12. August 14, 2012

    My husband mentioned moving the other day and the first thing I thought was, “how will we get our embryos to our new city if we do that?” We’re not moving any time soon, but I’m secretly stressed about this. I understand your anxiety just a little bit – nothing like if I was actually dealing with this myself.

    Good decision. I think you just have to trust that it will work out!

    • August 15, 2012

      Lol! It is so stressful, but people do it everyday. I talked to a lot of folks about this and they all assured me that things will be fine. I’m here if you have any questions when the time comes for you to move your embabies.

  13. August 14, 2012

    I know nothing about moving embryos, but when I saw your post title, the theme to the Jeffersons started playing in my head. Your embryos will be “moving on up!”

    • August 15, 2012

      Hahahahah, I love it! I’ll try to keep this in my head on Monday/Tuesday to keep the panic at bay.

  14. August 14, 2012

    Wishing your embies super safe, ice-cold travels…

  15. August 14, 2012

    I would have made the same choice. Hoping they get their safe and sound.

  16. August 14, 2012

    THERE not their. Ugh, my brain does NOT work anymore!

    • August 15, 2012

      Lol! I HATE it when the wrong there/their slips in!

      • August 15, 2012

        It’s a huge pet peeve of mine too so I get super annoyed when I do it!

  17. August 14, 2012

    I would have chosen the same option. I am hopeful that they will get to their destination safely. xoxo

  18. August 15, 2012

    I would choose option 4, find out who the driver is for that trip and go sit at his house till I got a call from the clinic saying the embryos arrived safely….but thats just me,hehehe

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