Small Dry Shippers

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Published on: September 26, 2017

By Karen Rockey

Let’s face it, without our cryogenic tanks, we would not be in business. So let’s take a little time to discuss the tanks we use for export shipping of embryos.

Small dry shippers and Dobles are most widely used for domestic transportation and shipping to neighboring countries, because of their size and non hazardous status. Unfortunately, they have limited hold times. Knowing the hold time is very important. If you have issues in customs, or papers are lost, a hold time of 14 – 17 days doesn’t give you much time to rectify the situation.

One of the items available (and recommended for all wide mouth dry shippers), is the cabosil insert. When fully absorbed with nitrogen and placed inside the tank with the embryos, it will give the tank a little extra time of charge. Insurance may also require the use of these inserts. I am not sure if others are making these now, but our source has been Chart/MVE.

*Be aware if you are using an older tank, depending on the insurance carrier, you may only be covered for loss if they are 10 years or less in age.

Make sure your dry shipper is fully charged and the excess nitrogen has been removed. If you leave it full of nitrogen and it tips over, you will have issues with the shipping company. A number of years ago this happened to someone and FedEx made them rate all their shippers as hazardous for a while.  Costly.

As with any export shipment, you must have a USDA seal on the tank and original signed packing list accompany the embryos. Note on you packing list what country the embryos are destined to. Secure the paperwork to the tank handle.

Seal your tank correctly with a USDA seal. Seal the tank, not the protective case. The strip seals are self explanatory. The button seals need to be set correctly.

Photo on left: Strip Seal and Button Seal
Photo in middle: Incorrectly applied button seal – wire lead tab should be inside the button
Photo on right: Incorrectly applied button seal with suture…

One of the major problems we see on a regular basis, is securing the outside container (or “mushroom”) for the tank. Securing the latch has been a constant source of irritation for many of us. Evidently the design of these is still a work in progress, as I have seen it change at least three times in the last ten years. If the latch on the outside mushroom is not secure, there is a good chance you can lose your papers inside if it pops open during shipment. It has happened.

Photo on left: How tank arrived at our office
Photo on right: What happened with light pressure on the lid. USDA Seal unbroken and tank accessible.

Photo on left: Correctly secured. Lid to body of protective case
Photo on right: Correctly secured with additional drilled holes in lid to base.

Winter months here in the northern latitudes can be brutal, and the plastic cable ties do not do well with a loose lid. If your case is not in “new” condition, take the extra step to prevent it opening by using a wire along with the cable tie. It fares much better in the frigid temperatures!

Photo on left: Additional security for winter months – plastic ties break easily in winter. Use wire.
Photo on right: Add packing inside the lid for a tighter fit

Getting your embryos where they need to go safely and securely is the key to smooth export shipping.

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