Wired has just published a close look at the global cold chain of eggs, sperm, and embryos headed to the latest destination where paid surrogacy is legal: “Inside the Hidden Global Supply Chain for Frozen Sperm, Eggs, and Embryos.”

Typically, a cold chain is the transportation of things that have a limited shelf-life. Think food heading to your local grocery store or certain types of drugs that need to be kept at a specific temperature while being shipped and stored in order to maintain the effectiveness of the drug.

With the growing global markets of eggs, sperm, and embryos, companies like Cyroport, which specializes in the transport of biological materials, promote their technique as the best for maintaining the quality controls necessary to prevent harm and damage to early embryos and gametes.

According to the article,

Frozen cells don’t just need to be cold; they need to be cryogenically cold—like -240 degrees Fahrenheit . . . If sperm or embryos get above even -184 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s warm enough to restart some of the cellular process. It’s even more dire for eggs, which are full of liquid that can form razor-life ice crystals if they warm in the wrong conditions.

The IVF industry depends heavily on quality controls and quality assurances every step of the way because of the high failure rates of high-tech pregnancies.

What it really means is that the desire to have a child is so strong that many are willing to put early human life in harms way at nearly every step of the way.

Author Profile

Jennifer Lahl, CBC Founder
Jennifer Lahl, CBC Founder
Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.