In the News

Hurricanes and Frozen Embryos

Huge hurricane between Florida and Cuba. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

As hurricane season bears down upon the East and Gulf Coasts, preparations are being made to protect possessions and gather provisions to weather the storms. Mandatory evacuations are ordered for residents in the eye of pending peril, but what happens to embryos that are frozen in laboratories? Completely dependent upon a power source to maintain their frozen state, how will these embryos fare during such a storm and what provisions and preparations are being made for them?

After the hurricanes pass through, the hardships surrounding them will continue. Many will be left without power and air conditioning, spending their days in sweltering temperatures. For many couples, the lack of power and extreme heat threatens one of their most prized possessions—their frozen embryos. If you’re one of the many people that are worried about their frozen embryos, there are probably many questions racing through your head. Read on to figure out what you need to know about your frozen embryos.

1. Call Your Center

Call the center that houses your frozen embryos to ask about their well-being, storm plan, and backup power sources.

Once you pick up a phone and dial your center’s number, try and listen. One of the biggest mistakes people make before having a big conversation is to play the entire thing out in their head before it happens. Instead, try and simply listen to what the center has to say.

After your conversation, regardless of the outcome, you’ll have a lot to think and talk about. When you hang up the phone, try and process the information without panicking. If needed, connect with your support network. Everything might be perfectly well, but in the event it’s not, make sure you have a supportive group nearby.

2. There is Hope

 Natural disasters can influence a clinic’s ability to keep embryos viable. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, many couples were worried about the future of their frozen embryos. Countless clinics were flooded and without power, and during this time, all their embryos were threatened.

Luckily, many of these embryos became the hurricane’s smallest survivors. Noah Markham is known as Katrina’s youngest survivor overall. He was rescued from a center that was flooded with nearly eight feet of water. In January of 2007, Noah was born to his mother Rebekah Crosby.

Other young survivors now go by the names Sam and Ben. These boys were once frozen embryos, locked in a canister in a hospital that had no power. Unbeknownst to Sam and Ben’s parents, a special task force made a daring rescue to save the embryos after the storm. During the mission, nearly 1,200 embryos belonging to 485 couples were saved.

3) Safeguard for the Future

Once you’ve had time to digest and understand the ways in which the storm has influenced you, start to take action. If you are not familiar with your center’s plan for future natural disasters, call them and ask them about their procedures. Ask them about their technology for storing embryos and ask them if they have any additional backup plans. For example, you might want to ask how they will protect your embryos in the event of a fire. Do they have a plan in place in case of an earthquake? What happens if the center is without power?

These questions will be difficult to ask, but it’s important that you know the answers to them. Once you listen to a center’s plan, you can decide if you feel comfortable allowing them to protect your embryos. If not, you can begin to make calls to other storage centers that might be a better fit for you.

Hurricanes can reshape lives in many ways. It may take months or years for things to return to normal, but the process of rebuilding can start today. With support by your side, you can take the first step in understanding what the future might hold for your frozen embryos.

 

This NRFA blog features an article by Mackenzie Martin, a talented writer who gives her all to sharing stories and information. As a writer by day and an author by night, she has an undying love for well-crafted copy and the impact it can have.