Thousands of consecutive successful semen shipments and counting with Shipmate

Compared to other systems that do not actively control semen temperature the Shipmate slowly cools down and holds the temperature at exactly 5°C/41°F. This makes a huge difference in semen viability even on shipments that take up to 3-4 days. And it is small so overnight and return shipping costs are considerably less.

Invented by James Chopping and developed and manufactured by Innovative Technology Ltd., Elk City, Oklahoma.

Shipmate features:

  • Double-walled stainless-steel flask. 130mm tall, 90mm in diameter.
  • The flask holds 350ml, enough for many samples shipped together.
  • Powered by a D-sized alkaline battery.

Shipmate will make a huge difference in your ability to ship chilled semen reliably. The traditional method of shipping chilled semen is by using a passive system. Ice packs in the shipping container cool the specimen, but there is no way to control the rate at that the specimen is cooled or the final temperature that it is cooled. The results are inconsistent and unreliable.

Shipmate controls both the cooling rate and final temperature of the specimen. Shipmate uses a double-walled stainless-steel flask that is surrounded by ice packs inside an insulated foam shipping box. The ice packs alone would damage the specimen by cooling it too fast causing Cold Shock and also potentially freezing the specimen.

A microprocessor, temperature sensor, heater, and memory are the secrets to successfully shipping chilled semen. The specimen temperature is measured and a small amount of heat is added to the flask thereby controlling the cooling to the ideal rate of 0.5 °C / minute until the sample reaches 18 °C. Then the sample is cooled very slowly at a rate of 1 °C every 20 minutes to exactly 5 °C, this slow cooling rate is necessary to prevent Cold Shock. For the remainder of the trip, the sample is held at 5 °C the optimum temperature. It takes about 4.5 hours to properly reach the 5 °C plateau.

The whole process is automated using Shipmate, there is no setup required, just load the box with ice packs insert a fresh D-cell alkaline battery and Shipmate does the rest. (More ice and a bigger insulated box would be required for a trip that lasts longer).