What Are the Regulations for Shipping Sperm?

Alex Tree

The regulations for shipping sperm depend on where the sperm is being shipped to and from. It must be shipped in a cooled container to be viable upon delivery. Some countries require documentation to ensure the sperm does not carry disease. In addition, if the sperm is from humans, some places do not allow the donation of sperm from homosexual or bisexual men. Lastly, shipping sperm across country borders usually incurs certain fees and has strict import restrictions regarding what types of sperm are allowed in a particular country.

Some countries have banned sperm donation form homosexual men.
Some countries have banned sperm donation form homosexual men.

Sperm can be shipped using liquid nitrogen or dry ice to keep the proper temperature. When shipping sperm with liquid nitrogen, the sperm is good for more than a week. On the other hand, dry ice is not nearly as cool as liquid nitrogen and should be used to ship sperm only to a nearby location. Dry ice can safely store sperm for up to one day, in which case it cannot be transferred to a liquid nitrogen container, but instead used by a medical professional the same day. If the sperm thaws during shipment, it is no longer usable for insemination purposes.

Sperm can be kept in acceptable condition for more than a week if shipping with liquid nitrogen.
Sperm can be kept in acceptable condition for more than a week if shipping with liquid nitrogen.

If shipping sperm between countries, the shipper must obey certain laws, which differ depending on the country. Sometimes the receiving country requires documentation about the nature of the semen and certification from a veterinarian if the semen comes from an animal such as a horse. Getting proper documentation can be expensive because of fees related to filing or endorsing the papers.

Some areas of the world ban homosexual and bisexual men from becoming sperm donors. In this case, their sperm cannot legally be shipped to the area under most conditions. While these laws are uncommon, they were said to have been put in place to minimize the risk of spreading disease.

Shipping sperm in and out of some regions can incur import and export fees, respectively. These fees are especially common when shipping animal sperm, such as horse sperm. Import and export fees are used to finance medical examination of the sperm. The main reason sperm is examined is to verify that it is free from disease. Additionally, extra shipping fees are often incurred to facilitate medical examination.

Some countries allow sperm to be imported from only specific countries. Even when a type of sperm can be imported from multiple countries, the procedures are often different. A particular country may allow one type of sperm to be imported from another country but disallow a different species’ sperm completely.

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