Lending a Helping Hand to a Ukraine IVF Clinic

Anna Sokalska, MD, PhD

When Dr. Anna Sokalska, Clinical Assistant Professor, heard that an infertility clinic in Ukraine was in the war zone, she did not hesitate to leap into action. In addition to the threat of incoming bombs, the capital city of Kyiv was facing blackouts that could endanger the viability of the frozen embryos and eggs at the clinic. Dedicated staff members had been maintaining the freezers housing thousands of embryos and eggs by routinely purchasing liquid nitrogen but the clinic and their clients were concerned that their efforts would end in despair and were looking for alternative solutions.
Transporting the embryos to Poland was the first thing that came to mind. Doing that was not so straightforward. “It’s not easy to transfer human tissue from outside the European Union (EU) to inside the EU. You need to get permission from the Minister of Health,” Sokalska shares.
Luckily, Sokalska was already connected to a clinic in Kraków, Poland — and that clinic already had started the paperwork to enable human tissue transport. In March, the same day that they were ready to move the eggs and embryos, the troops pulled out of the capital city. Today, Sokalska reports that the clinic is open and running as normally as it can be. Even though the evacuation was not necessary, Sokalska was able to bring a little peace of mind to Ukrainians seeking to become parents.