Posted: February 4, 2016
Updated: May 12, 2016

The Zika Virus continues to be of great concern to those pregnant or trying to conceive, and individuals traveling outside of the United States. Xytex continues to stay abreast with areas who have reported active Zika Virus transmission to ensure we follow the precautionary and travel recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At Xytex we continue to take every precaution to ensure our clients receive the best quality gametes. In doing so, we ask that donors review the most current list of affected countries and territories provided by the CDC before each visit, and we also prescreen donors upon arrival. We request that donors notify our team if they have traveled outside of the United States and visited one of the affected countries or territories in the past 6 months, currently noted by the CDC. If a donor has indeed visited one of the regions with active Zika Virus transmission, he is unable to donate for 6 months, as recommended by the CDC.

For an up-to-date list of countries and territories with active Zika Virus transmission, visit the CDC website – http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html. For more information on our current screening process, call 800.277.3210.


Xytex’s Response to the Zika Virus
Posted February 4, 2016

You have heard it all over the news, but you think it doesn’t affect you. Think again. If you have been traveling to certain areas of the world – many of them popular vacation destinations – you should read on.

“Donors who have traveled to a country or territory designated by the CDC as an area of active Zika virus transmission within the prior 28 days will not be allowed to donate. This procedure is in line with that being followed by the American Red Cross for blood donors.”
J. Todd Spradlin, M.D., Chief Medical Director for Xytex

At Xytex, we are taking every precaution to ensure our clients get the best quality human gametes. For this reason, we are following the recommendations of the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control in regards to the Zika virus. Please review the list of countries with active Zika outbreaks at the end of this article if you have traveled outside the United States in the last month.

What is the Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is a mild illness spread through a mosquito bite. It can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis lasting from just a few days to a week. Not too bad for a grown adult. Cases requiring hospitalization are not a common occurrence.

There have also been recent reports of the virus being spread through blood transfusions and sexual contact. Only 1 in 5 people who contract the Zika virus will get sick. For this reason, it is important to follow a few precautions. All precaution and travel recommendations are directly from the CDC.

Prevention

• Avoid mosquito bites
• Mosquitoes that spread Zika are daytime biters, take extra precautions to avoid daytime mosquito bites

When traveling to areas with Zika:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
• Stay indoors where there is air conditioning or screens on windows
• Sleep under mosquito netting if you cannot be indoors
• Use EPA-registered insect repellents (if using sunscreen apply that first, then bug spray)
• Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting
• Treat clothing and gear with permethrin

Despite precautions, if you still become infected with the Zika virus it remains present in your blood for the next week. Avoid mosquito bites to limit the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus around. If they bite you during this period and then bite someone else, they may spread the disease further.

There have also been links to the spread of Zika virus through sexual contact. It is best to avoid sexual contact for 30 days if you have traveled to a Zika infected area.

Zika and Pregnancy

Women infected with the Zika virus while pregnant can pass the virus to their unborn baby. The virus has been shown to cause microcephaly in unborn babies and these pregnancies have had poor outcomes.

Microcephaly is a birth defect in which the baby’s head is smaller than normal. This also causes the baby’s brain to be smaller and not develop properly. Babies with microcephaly can have seizures, developmental delay, intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, difficulty swallowing, hearing loss, and vision problems. Sometimes complications from microcephaly are fatal.

According to the CDC, women who are pregnant, think they may become pregnant, or are trying to conceive should avoid travel to Zika infected areas.

Affected Areas

Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In 2015, an outbreak of Zika spread across Brazil. Since then, there have been reported outbreaks in many countries including Barbados, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Martin, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A complete list and area map of locations with active Zika outbreaks are listed below.

AMERICAS
• Barbados
• Bolivia
• Brazil
• Colombia
• Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, US territory
• Costa Rica
• Curacao
• Dominican Republic
• Ecuador
• El Salvador
• French Guiana
• Guadeloupe
• Guatemala
• Guyana
• Haiti
• Honduras
• Jamaica
• Martinique
• Mexico
• Nicaragua
• Panama
• Paraguay
• Saint Martin
• Suriname
• U.S. Virgin Islands
• Venezuela
OCEANIA/PACIFIC ISLANDS
• American Samoa
• Samoa
• Tonga
AFRICA
• Cape Verde

Take extra precautions when traveling to Zika infected areas, take necessary precautions when you return, and do all you can to avoid mosquito bites. We will keep you posted on new developments and information as it becomes available.


                                                                   

Xytex Cryo International, an industry leader in reproductive services, is celebrating 40 years of unsurpassed commitment to quality and a commitment to providing our clients with an experience that provides empathy and guidance. At Xytex we understand that we could not have accomplished this success without our customers, donors, vendors, fertility professionals and employees.

Dr. Armand Karow, working with Roy Witherington M.D., established at the Medical College of Georgia, the first clinical sperm bank in the southeast. In 1975 the sperm bank was incorporated as Xytex Corporation Inc., which evolved under Dr. Karow’s direction to become Xytex Cryo International Ltd., a global leader in assisted reproduction that includes a sperm bank, egg donor program, long-term medical tissue storage and cord blood banking. Although Dr. Karow passed away in 2007, he would be pleased that Xytex is now 100% employee owned.

At Xytex, our most valuable assets are our employee owners. Knowing they have ownership in the company provides Xytex employees with a sense of pride in all aspects of the work they do, enabling them to provide unsurpassed customer service to our clients since our employee owners are motivated to provide excellent customer service and a commitment to producing a quality product.

Dr. Michael Tucker, our Chief Executive Officer noted, “While there has been so much change that has occurred during the past four decades, the excellence of our service has remained the same. Xytex Cryo International, one of the earliest established cryo-banks in the world, continues to provide quality and value across a range of services, and, additionally, is an amazing fully employee-owned company to work for!”

Kevin M. O’Brien, our company President noted, “The business of Xytex is people – people eager to share their specialized knowledge in an empathetic manner with patients who are making life-altering decisions regarding reproductive options, tissue preservation and cord blood management.”

Xytex’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Jan Schöler said, “Xytex Cryo International is one of those amazing companies that has grown and flourished due to the hard work and dedication of its employees. The quality of the work, customer service and leadership are, bar none, the best I’ve experienced in over 30 years of work in the medical reproductive field. After only a relative short tenure with the company, I look forward to many more productive years.”

Thank you to our customers and donors, both past and present, for giving us the opportunity to provide you with the best service possible. To those with whom we have not yet had the pleasure of working with, thank you for taking the time to read our story. We hope that one day we can help you with your reproductive health.

We would like to give back to everyone that helped us make it to this great milestone. Every month this year we are going to give a lucky person a chance to win a gift. Please visit our Facebook page for more details. Again, thank you to everyone that helped us hit our 40th!


Xytex is excited to introduce xyConnects.  Since Xytex is the common denominator between the donor, the child and the parent or parents of that child – Xytex is in the ideal position to facilitate these connections in a secure, controlled environment. This first of its kind site makes it possible for donors who provided semen to Xytex to connect and communicate with the recipients and offspring (13 years and older with signed consent from their legal guardian).  Xytex believes assisting in these connections is the right thing to do when all parties want to pursue it.

xyConnects is an online platform that allows parents, donors and offspring to have the ability to register and potentially communicate in a social media setting. Xytex confirms the identity of the donor, the recipient of the donor’s sperm and the recorded birth. This ensures all parties are represented accurately.  xyConnects is a completely voluntary service.  Recipients, Donors and Offspring can choose to register or choose to decline any actions completely. Both parties must agree to a connection and communication before any correspondence takes place. At no time prior to or after connecting on xyConnects is anyone’s private information such as name or e-mail address released by Xytex.  All moderation is achieved via the xyConnects system assuring complete confidentiality.

In order to be a part of the xyConnects community, please go to www.xytex.com/xyconnects create your profile, add pictures and view your potential connections.


Xytex Cryo International has signed up for a new monitoring system to protect irreplaceable cryopreserved gametes and umbilical Cord Blood in its Georgia storage facilities. Xytex, a 36 year old worldwide industry leader, has a commitment to unsurpassed quality controls and protecting irreplaceable reproductive tissues. One way to fulfill this commitment is to continuously monitor all products and reagents being stored to ensure that the required temperatures are maintained and that deviations are identified immediately, reported and corrected. Xytex examined and trial tested alternative services before settling on the Tutela system from Next Control Services.

“After a thorough evaluation we chose a Tutela 24-hour wire-less monitoring system because we just found it to be the best fit for our situation; there was a better feel to its operation. We contacted users of all the systems we tested inquiring about the benefits of each system, and Tutela, received the best ratings. Having used a manual system of checking levels and temperatures for many years, we were skeptical of taking the leap to wire-less monitoring, but, as one reference indicated, at some point you have to be confident in the technology because 24/7 monitoring is far superior to manual checking. We even included our oxygen monitor on the system.” – Anita Wylds, Xytex Special Projects Coordinator

“The monitoring service is provided by Next Controls’ fully manned 24 hour international alarm bureau through which the Tutela system automatically generates records sufficiently detailed to meet all legal requirements. Next Controls has fitted 55 sensors on liquid nitrogen units, 5 sensors on refrigerator/freezer units and 2 sensors on oxygen monitors.” – Christopher Karow, Communications


Xytex Cryo International has recently improved tank temperature monitoring and building security systems for all locations. Xytex has always provided customers with safety systems that insure all around security measures.

Xytex recently tested and installed a new $30k tank and dewar temperature control and regulation system as well as reinforcing our high security system. Xytex has always maintained a 24-hour security system with multiple alert controls. New advances in technology have allowed Xytex to control access to all of our locations with a fully integrated entry system which records the movement of every individual entering or exiting our facilities. This new system further exceeds ISO requirements and regulatory expectations.

Xytex has also installed a fully validated and regulatory compliant web-based wireless temperature monitoring and recording system to monitor all refrigeration and liquid nitrogen storage units. The system monitors both high and low temperatures using NIST traceable monitoring sensors. The system allows 24/7 web access to monitor all devices. If any device indicates operating outside set temperature parameters, the system goes into an alarm mode and is automatically reported to a manned bureau. The bureau contacts Xytex personnel who are able to quickly react to the nature of the alarm.
– Xytex Security Resource and Development Group


As of July 29, 2010, Xytex Cord Blood Bank has officially been awarded a New York State Cord Blood provisional license by the New York Department of Health. With this license Xytex will be able to accept cord blood banking requests or orders from New York State residents and is also a recognition of the high degree of performance by Xytex Cord Blood Bank operations. Xytex Cord Blood Bank will immediately begin distributing cord blood collection kits to moms-to-be and is ready to begin taking new cord blood collection requests and orders from moms-to-be, clinics and other health care professionals in the state of New York.