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With fertility tourism becoming increasingly popular, the question if and how frozen embryos can be shipped abroad will become more common as well. There is a multitude of reasons to want to ship embryos created through IVF abroad.

Among them are already having frozen embryos, but turning to a foreign fertility clinic for Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) because of the lower cost, planning to use a foreign surrogate mother, or your country of residence having limitations on the number of years frozen embryos can be preserved, and wanting to "save" them. So, just how do you go about shipping frozen embryos to another country?

From what I have seen, couples who are going through IVF abroad to cut costs are best off taking their embryos with them themselves. Embryos are frozen in liquid nitrogen and can be transported in dry shipper tanks. This is done to keep the embryos at the necessary temperature throughout their journey. These tanks can be rented or bought, but many fertility clinics will place them at their patient's disposal if asked, as long as they are subsequently returned.

Before taking the frozen embryos, it is necessary to authorize the clinic or facility where you were storing them. Depending on whether you are doing an in-country or international transport, and where exactly your are taking your embryos, different paperwork will be needed.

The consensus seems to be that when the embryos are in possession of the "owners"/parents, combined with the correct documents showing the embryos are needed for fertility treatment of the person also transporting them, shipment is easiest. It might also be possible to use commercial shipping companies, but the rules need to be carefully investigated in advance. On the whole, it seems to be possible to find a solution for the shipment of frozen embryos abroad.

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