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Keeping your frozen eggs safe

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Keeping your frozen eggs safe

March 14, 2018   |   In the News, The Real Deal

Freezing your eggs is intended to preserve your options for the future by using a very low temperature to stop all biological activity within the eggs and prevent the eggs from aging. In order to stay preserved, your eggs need to be kept frozen at a stable -196ºC in liquid nitrogen storage tanks—and a highly monitored, secure storage facility is imperative.

Learn more about egg cryopreservation.

New England Cryogenic Center

That’s why we’ve partnered with the industry leaders in human tissue storage, New England Cryogenic Center in Massachusetts, for the long-term storage of eggs frozen at Extend Fertility. NECC is not a clinic—it’s one of the largest cryogenics storage sites in the world. Cryogenic storage is their sole focus and specialty, and they’ve been storing human tissues, including eggs and embryos, from all over the world for over 40 years without a single failure of any kind.

Here’s how they do it:

Automatic temperature maintenance

The liquid nitrogen level in a cryogenic storage tank is what allows it to maintain its very cold temperature. NECC’s storage tanks use an automatic liquid nitrogen feed, meaning if the liquid nitrogen level drops (due to natural evaporation or any other reason), the automatic feed will remedy the level variation immediately. This system removes the chance of human error in the maintenance of the proper temperature for frozen eggs.

Constant monitoring

NECC’s cryogenic storage is monitored all day, every day via a sophisticated system of electronic and human supervision. Their cryogenic storage staff is on-site 365 days a year, and their storage tank room is visible to that staff at all times. Even though NECC’s tanks are kept at the correct levels automatically, their system electronically monitors the temperatures and nitrogen levels of the tanks every 15 minutes. If any temperature variations were to occur, their alarm system would alert personnel immediately. Additionally, their staff visually inspect and double-check nitrogen levels daily, as an extra layer of protection against temperature variation.

No susceptibility to power outages

Importantly, NECC does not count on electricity to feed the liquid nitrogen needed for cryogenic storage from its 9,000-gallon holding tank. NECC always has enough liquid nitrogen on-hand to last an extended period of time, and can receive new supplies of liquid nitrogen in less than 24 hours. That means a power failure, such as in the case of a natural disaster, isn’t going to impact the eggs. Still, NECC has a very large backup generator that can power its entire facility (including its alarm systems) in the case of an outage.

Extremely secure

The NECC facility has video surveillance, an ADT alarm system, and motion detectors. All visitors must be identified and buzzed in. Eggs are stored in tanks in a designated egg freezing storage room with its own security, and access to that room is restricted to only necessary personnel.

Additionally, NECC has protocols to keep all human tissue samples (like eggs) organized and properly identified. Every patient has an identification number, and that, along with their name and date of birth, is included on every sample. NECC logs all samples physically (on paper) and electronically; their paper records are stored in fireproof safes and their computers have many backups. Additionally, two people always check whatever NECC is doing with any sample; nothing is ever handled solo. NECC never deviates from these protocols, and as a result they have an impeccable track record.

Highly regulated

NECC is registered and governed by the FDA, licensed with appropriate regulatory agencies, and is regularly inspected by several entities. Their equipment, protocols, and standards exceed all federal and state regulations.

Bottom line: NECC uses a highly tested, fail-safe inventory and storage system, which is why we have full trust in the safety and security of all frozen eggs stored there.

Extend Fertility’s lab protocols

While eggs frozen at Extend Fertility go into “long-term storage” at NECC, we store patients’ eggs at the Extend Fertility lab for a short time before they are transferred to NECC. Therefore, it’s important that our own lab has safeguards, as well.

Our laboratory equipment, including the liquid nitrogen tanks, is monitored 24 hours a day with an advanced alarm system that provides immediate notification if a device is out of range. Additionally, our highly trained laboratory staff monitors the status of each tank seven days a week, through daily visual inspection, to ensure the proper function of all the equipment.

Transportation from Extend Fertility to NECC

Your frozen eggs are transferred to NECC’s state-of-the-art cryogenic storage facility by NECC itself. We do not use a third-party transport company. NECC brings specialized travel tanks called “cryo-movers” to Extend Fertility, fills them, and then takes the filled tanks to their facility. This trip typically takes less than five hours—and the liquid nitrogen vapor in the shipping tanks can keep the eggs at the proper temperature, for at least seven days. After arriving at NECC, the specimens are moved into large tanks following strict protocols. Only highly trained cryogenic professionals are involved in the process. We chose this transportation method for all eggs frozen with Extend Fertility because we have full trust in NECC team; NECC has sent and received over 100,000 shipments in the last 20 years, without incident.

The safety of our patients’ eggs is a top priority. If you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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