ReproTech Responds

A message to our Valued Clients:

Because ReproTech provides a critical service to our clients, we understand that many of you may be concerned how COVID-19 could impact our operations and how that would affect the precious specimens that we store for you. For everyone’s safety, ReproTech will segregate and store specimens from people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in separate vapor tanks, similar to how we already handle other potentially infectious storage. 

At this time, there have been no changes to ReproTech’s specimen protocols or shipping capability and we remain fully staffed. Our storage tanks are replenished manually with liquid nitrogen to maintain their temperatures, so they do not need electricity, and our tank monitoring systems are backed up by battery power and tested frequently.

ReproTech has always been concerned about the health of our employees. Paid sick time and 100% paid health insurance premiums are provided for all our employees. Some of our staff are working from home, so you may hear children, pets or other household sounds in the background during phone calls. Know that these are not our usual office sounds and bear with us through these unusual times.

In response to COVID-19 transmission, we have implemented a number of precautions in the workplace. We are rotating onsite staff to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at the same time. Most importantly, if any employee feels sick, they are required to stay home and seek medical care if needed, helping to keep their co-workers healthy and on the job. We know it is important that we take care of the employees who take care of your irreplaceable specimens.

ReproTech will continue to offer exceptional customer service and be available to provide critical business functions. Rest assured that we will have dedicated ReproTech staff available at all times to maintain storage tanks and ensure all specimens remain safe.

We continue to follow the impact of COVID-19 infections in the United States and will keep you updated with any company developments on this website.



ReproTech Participates in Experiment to Study Cryostorage Tank Performance

Published: October 24, 2019 - ReproTech, Ltd. CEO, Brent Hazelrigg, contributed to this experiment and article in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction & Genetics that provided useful information about cryostorage tank performance after an induced vacuum failure.

Assisted Reproduction Technologies

Click here for the link to the abstract.

Cryostorage tank failures: temperature and volume loss over time after induced failure by removal of insulative vacuum

Authors: Kimball O. Pomeroy, Michael L. Reed, Brian LoManto, Stanley G. Harris, W. Brent Hazelrigg, Dawn A. Kelk

Abstract

Purpose
To determine liquid nitrogen evaporation rates of intact liquid nitrogen storage tanks and tanks with their vacuum removed.

Methods
Donated storage tank performance (LN2 evaporation) was evaluated before and after induced vacuum failure. Vacuum of each tank was removed by drilling through the vacuum port. Temperature probes were placed 2 in. below the bottom of the styrofoam cap/plug, and tanks were weighed every 3 h. Evaporation rate and time from failure to the critical temperature was determined.

Result
Storage tanks with failed vacuum have a much higher evaporation rate than those with intact vacuum; evaporation rates increased dramatically within 3 to 6 h in the smaller tanks, and time to complete depletion varied according to starting LN2 volume. Tanks with storage racks/specimens may have altered evaporation profiles compared to tanks without. Locating temperature probes 2 in. below the styrofoam cap/plug suggests that for most applications, alarms would sound approximately 1 h prior to reaching the critical warming temperature, approximately − 130 °C. External signs of vacuum loss were dramatic: vapor, frost, and audible movement of air.

Conclusion
For the first time, we have data on how liquid nitrogen storage tanks behave when their vacuum is removed. These findings are conservative; each lab must consider starting volume, tank size/capacity, function (storage or shipping), age, and pre-existing evaporation behavior in order to develop an emergency response to critical tank failure. Times to complete failure/evaporation and critical warming temperature after vacuum loss are different; these data should be considered when evaluating tank alarm systems.

Notes


Acknowledgements
A special thanks to those that donated tanks to this study: The World Egg Bank, Colorado State University’s Animal Reproduction Laboratory, ReproTech, Ltd, Yale Fertility Center, and Kaiser Permanente Center for Reproductive Health.

Authors’ contribution
All authors contributed to the study conception and design and contributed to material preparation and data collection. All authors contributed to data analysis, with final review by KOP. All authors contributed to and had opportunity to comment on the original version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
There were no conflicts of interest reported by the authors, and no compensation was received by the authors for participation in this project. No commercial, State or Federal funding was utilized in this study; materials, monitoring devices, and tanks were available in-house or were donated for the purposes described in this manuscript.

Publisher’s note
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

References
1. Foote RH. The history of artificial insemination: selected notes and notables. J Anim Sci. 2002;80:1–10.
2. Polge C, Smith AU, Parkes AS. Revival of spermatozoa after vitrification and dehydration at low temperatures. Nature. 1949;164(666):70.
3. Pomeroy KO, Marcon M. Reproductive tissue storage: Quality control and management/inventory software. Semin Reprod Med. 2018;36:280–8.
4. Schiewe MC, Freeman M, Whitney JB, VerMilyea MD, Jones A, Aguirre M, et al. Comprehensive assessment of cryogenic storage risk and quality management concerns: best practice guidelines for ART labs. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2019;36:5–14.
5. Kelk DA, Liu Y, Nichols-Burns S, Lo J, Reed M, Pomeroy K. Analysis of a simulated liquid nitrogen storage tank failure. Fertil Steril. 2018;110(Suppl):e18–9.
6. Pomeroy KO. Liquid nitrogen storage tank failure: can we improve the current system? Fert Steril Dialog. 2018.
7. Moutos CP, Lahham R, Phelps JY. Cryostorage failures: a medicolegal review. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2019;36:1041–8.
8. Schiewe MC, Ochoa T, Whitney JB, Zozula S. Operational and performance qualification of 35 liter cryostorage Dewar tanks by weight measurement-fluid level correlations. Fertil Steril. 2019;111(Suppl):e29.
9. Alikani M. Cryostorage of human gametes and embryos: a reckoning. Reprod BioMed Online. 2018;37:1–3.

Copyright information
© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

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