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Cryogenic shipping containers (cryoshippers) are used every day to safely transport reproductive tissue specimens between clinics and storage facilities. Within the walls of a cryoshipper, absorbent material holds liquid nitrogen to provide a cryogenic vapor environment with a temperature of-196° Celsius. Cryoshippers are typically housed inside protective shipping enclosures with rounded lids (resembling a mushroom) that encourage carriers to maintain an upright orientation when handling.
The abstract, entitled, Upright, Upside Down, Sideways – Effects of Orientation of Vapor Shippers and Data Loggers on Hold Time, sought to determine if cryoshippers would maintain safe cryogenic temperatures (hold times) if they were not kept in the upright position per manufacturer recommendations.
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"We wanted to look at the manufacturer stated normal evaporation rates (NERs) and hold times for two models of cryoshippers and compared that with preventative maintenance records using the same type of shippers. The shippers were positioned upright, upside down and sideways to simulate how they could be handled by a commercial transport carrier," stated Amy Erickson Hagen.
The study showed that regardless of orientation, cryoshippers can complete a round trip, shipping out from a cryostorage facility, to a clinic, and back, within one business week. During this process, the cryoshipper still maintains the proper temperature for cryopreserved specimens.
When analyzing the data, it was observed that upside down is the worst orientation and shippers kept in this position had significantly lower hold times.
"Surprisingly, the results showed that using data loggers dramatically decreases the hold time due to a heat wick effect from the temperature probe wire, which transferred heat from the ambient air into the shipper," commented Brent Hazelrigg. It should be noted that ReproTech used data loggers for this experiment but does not use them as part of their standard shipping protocols. ReproTech instead uses thermal exposure indicators called "Cryoguard M-150s" which are placed inside the cryoshippers with no external wiring, thus eliminating a heat wick effect.
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Read the full abstract by visiting the Fertility & Sterility website:
ReproTech, Ltd. specializes in long-term cryostorage and safe transportation of reproductive tissues. In 2020, ReproTech is celebrating 30 years as the Cryostorage Leader in the United States with four regional locations in St. Paul, MN; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Reno, NV; and Dallas/Fort Worth, TX. ReproTech's proven protocols, 24/7 tank monitoring with data analysis, and disaster safe rooms provide peace of mind to patients.
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