The Ins and Outs of Shipping

Welcome back to the ART blog!  As the weather gets nicer, we get out and ride our horses more.  This unfortunately means they get hurt a bit more, while here at ART things get a little busier.  For me this means extra shipping.  Our entire business here is based around shipping, both incoming packages containing the bone marrow, and outgoing packages with the stem cells.  In some of the ART documentation we reference shipping, but often times there are leftover questions.  Today I am going to address some of the most common questions we get, and some of the issues we see.  Let’s get started!

Incoming Packages

If you are a new client, you have probably read the shipping instructions found on our website.  If you have shipped to us before, you have probably encountered at least one of these situations!  A few of the questions we get from you about incoming packages include:

Why do we need to let you know the package is coming?

Folks, this has nothing to do with permission.  We are here in the building 365 days a year, and we are always accepting your packages.  The reason we ask you to let us know the package is coming is so if it doesn’t show up in the morning we can track it down.  If you don’t want to call us, send us an e-mail.  The best would be if you sent an e-mail that included the tracking number!  Both FedEx and UPS online services offer free e-mail notifications that already include the tracking number, which is a great way to let us know something is headed our way.

Oh no! My package didn’t show up at ART today, what is going to happen to my bone marrow?

This is probably the most frustrating and worrisome situation to find yourself in!  Unfortunately, we all have to place our trust in a 3rd party shipper.  I have asked about getting my pilot license and a private plane to act as a personal courier, but no one else thinks that is a realistic option.  Since we are all stuck with FedEx and UPS, sometimes delays do happen.  Not to worry– if your package arrives within 48 hours (aka the following day) it is usually still viable.  We have very good success with draws arriving 48 hours after they were pulled.

Why do I need to need to put a layer of material between my bone marrow and the ice?

It is crucial that the bone marrow stays at refrigerator temperature, cool but not frozen.  Let me emphasize: not frozen!  If the bone marrow freezes, it causes the cells within the bone marrow to lyse (explode) and there is no way for us to salvage the sample.  When the bone marrow is in direct contact with the ice packs it increases the risk of freezing.  It is also important that the blood does not freeze.  We use the serum to cryopreserve the stem cells, and if there is too much hemolysis in the serum we can’t use that either.  So do make sure there is at least 1 layer of bubble wrap, surgical drape, paper towel, or anything else you can find, between the sample and the ice pack.  Another word about freezing is this: if we sent you a box that arrived the same day as you are drawing a new sample, please DO NOT use the dry ice to ship us back your bone marrow.  It will cause your bone marrow and blood to freeze solid and we will be very sad.

Do you accept shipments on Saturdays?

We sure do!  We don’t accept deliveries to the building on Saturdays, but we have a solution for that.  We ask that you ship the package via FedEx and use the “ship and hold” option (also, please make sure you check the Saturday delivery option or the package won’t come until Monday).  The shipping address for Saturday deliveries is: 3800 Weiker Dr, Fort Collins, CO 80524. You must send us the tracking number for the package and let us know it is coming as we don’t go check for boxes out there every Saturday.  Call us anytime and we can walk you through all the steps either online or on your FedEx Airbill.

Outgoing Packages

To start off with there are a few basic things you need to know about how we ship your stem cells.  The stem cells have been cryopreserved and are stored at very cold temperatures.  They need to stay frozen until the moment you are ready to inject them.  Therefore, we ship all of our stem cells on dry ice and we utilize overnight delivery.  We generally ship via UPS, but please let us know if FedEx is much more reliable for you.  Appointments should be made Tuesdays through Fridays.  We cannot ship for Monday appointments.

How much notice do I need to give to get my stem cells shipped?

We appreciate as much notice as possible; please let us know at least the day before you want the cells shipped.  That being said, we do our best to accommodate same day shipping, so long as the requests are made before 1pm MST.  We cannot guarantee same day shipping on ship requests made after 1pm MST.

What happens if my package arrives late?  Will my cells be OK?

If your package doesn’t arrive by the guaranteed shipping time (usually 10:30am), please give us a call.  There are instances where the package is just running a bit late, and we can usually call UPS or FedEx and get the driver to hurry up a bit.  In other instances, such as a weather delay, the package may need to come the next day.  We make sure to pack enough dry ice in every box to ensure your cells will still be frozen after 48 hours.  If a next day appointment isn’t going to work for your client, we can arrange to have the cells shipped back to ART and reschedule for a future date.

Our clinic is located in a rural area without morning delivery, what options do we have?

We can always arrange for your stem cells to be shipped to arrive the day before the appointment.  This option allows you to have an early appointment, even when you don’t have early delivery service.  We can also ship the cells to you ahead of time if you have a liquid nitrogen storage tank in which the stem cells can be stored indefinitely.

The only time I can inject my patient is on a Monday.  What can I do?

We do not recommend Monday appointments.  If you have a liquid nitrogen tank we can ship the stem cells to you the week before the appointment, and you can store them in the tank until your appointment.  If you are willing to take a risk, we can ship the stem cells to arrive the Friday or Saturday before the appointment.  Someone will need to come in during the weekend and check that there is still dry ice in the box.  The dry ice will need to be replenished if it is running low (you can usually purchase dry ice at a local grocery store).  Please note that in the case of a shipping delay the package won’t arrive until Monday, and the cells will most likely be thawed and not suitable for use.

Do you have more questions about shipping?  Call today and I will answer any of your questions! (970)212-0749

Disclaimer: Advanced Regenerative Therapies is a commercial veterinary stem cell expansion company.  Information contained within this blog is solely for the general knowledge of the reader.  We do not diagnose any health problems, nor is this information meant to diagnose any health problems or substitute the judgment of a licensed veterinarian.