Hurricane Emergency: When Moving Your Embryos Means Saving Them from a Catastrophic Storm 

Hurricane Emergency: When Moving Your Embryos Means Saving Them from a Catastrophic Storm 

The IVF process can be long and complicated, with rounds of hormonal treatments, doctor’s visits and implantations. Now imagine if you had to worry about a destructive hurricane on top of it. 

In the summer of 2019, Heidi Bartlett and her husband decided to adopt embryos. The Bartletts, who live in Michigan, connected with a donor family nearly 1,000 miles away in South Carolina. 

“You arrange a contract and everything, and that can take a long time,” Heidi says. “We were working on finalizing the terms and scheduling the transfer, and I was taking hormone medication, when Hurricane Dorian hit.” 

Hurricane Dorian was a powerful Category 5 hurricane that struck the Bahamas and the Southeastern Coast of the U.S.wreaking havoc from late August to early September. Heidi’s transfer was scheduled for Sept. 15. “I was a nervous wreck,” she says. “I was watching the news every day.” 

She kept thinking: This is our first chance at a transfer—are our embryos even going to make it?  

To arrange the shipping – and quickly – the Bartletts turned to CryoStork, which was recommended by both of her clinics. “I was just amazed by Cryostork. They were great about updating us every step of the way, which made me feel so reassured, Heidi says.  

In total, Hurricane Dorian created more than $5 billion in damage across the Bahamas and the U.S., including in South CarolinaBefore the storm hit the state, CryoStork staff coordinated with both clinics, worked within partner networks to ensure the fastest and safest transportation routes, and arranged a successful delivery ahead of Heidi’s transfer date. 

Heidi is now dealing with another kind of chaos – of taking care of two infant twins with limited help. Luke and Lily are now two months old, and one day they’ll learn how they escaped one emergency and were born in the middle of another. The global COVID-19 pandemic means visitors are restricted, so the twins have only met mom, dad, and Heidi’s mom so far. 

Heidi can’t wait to tell her children the extraordinary circumstances around their birth. She’s also happy to tell anyone who’s considering moving their precious embryos to use CryoStork. “I would highly recommend CryoStork,” she says, “to anyone who asks.”  

Luke and Lily. Photo courtesy of Heidi Bartlett.



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