International shipping can be complicated. A good place to start is to check with the international clinic and make sure they have an Import/Export Certificate (IEC). It is authorization from their government that they are able to send or receive shipments. If it is not in place the clinic will need to complete the process for obtaining one. Without it customs will not let a shipment leave or enter the country, and a shipment cannot be made. There are some key questions that intended parents should ask the foreign clinic:
Do you have an Import/Export Certificate (IEC)?
How recently did you receive a shipment from outside your country?
How long did it take to do the paperwork?
How long did it take the shipment?
Once you have confirmed that shipping can take place, it is important to select a reliable shipping company. The best option is to choose one that is willing and able to clear customs and provide clinic-door to clinic-door transportation. You should know what services the shipping company provides and get it in writing.
Documentation is key when shipping internationally.
Document requirements can and do change often. Ask your shipping company when was the last time they reviewed the needed customs requirements to your selected country. Knowing what customs documentation is needed for the international shipment will help in clearing customs quickly. Success is definitely in the details. For example, have local holidays been checked? It is much easier to handle details before the shipment leaves.
Each country has different documents required and regulations do change. You are looking for a clinic that has recently received a problem-free shipment. Some countries have a ministry of health that regulates the shipment of biomaterials in and out of the country. Getting proper permits can be a lengthy process so time should be a consideration.
Ideally your shipping company can help you and your clinic navigate customs and the documentation required for international shipments. They should have a customer service team available 24/7 to ensure shipments are delivered safely. International shipping of frozen embryos, eggs and sperm is safe and effective as long as you select a reliable shipping partner.