mailsperm
mailsperm
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We are contemplating adding a new product line that would include a Freezable 'Cryo TYB' (CTYB), and are looking for feedback from potential donors. The product is very similar to the refrigerated TYB you are all so very used to, however this product allows sperm to be stored for years without degradation. It is the exact same laboratory grade product used by sperm banks which contains 12% glycerol and slightly different ratios of test yolk buffer and fructose. However, there are pro's and con's to the product line.

PROS:

1.) Sperm can be produced by donors every 2-3 days and stored in their freezer allowing for the possibility of 'building up' their personal supply of donations so less risk of donations to multiple recipients with changing cycles overlapping. Also the potential to store hundreds of vials for shipping anytime to anyone.
2.) Donations can be done at more convenient times for donors and less concern over 'last minute' requests.
3.) Sperm can survive long shipping times (up to 5 days) when packed with dry ice from local welding supply or similar vendor, which reduces risk of shipping delay damage.
4.) A donor can store and ship multiple donations PER CYCLE in one box for the recipient to store and use daily, or twice a day during her most fertile 2-3 day period. This can greatly increase the odds of pregnancy versus one donation per cycle.
5.) The recipient can 'store' several extra test tubes of sperm for future offspring without the risk of the donor no longer wishing to donate at a future time.
6.) The recipient can take her donors test tubes to a cryobank and have them washed and inserted via IUI while tracking ovulation with ultrasounds and/or the use of hormone therapy such as clomid for higher odds of fertilization.
7.) Storage temperatures for this product are roughly 14F or a normal household freezer storage temperature.
8.) The expected sperm longevity in this state is in excess of 10 years (25+ when stored in liquid nitrogen or lower temperature ranges).
9.) Local AI donations or 'hand-off's do not require dry ice.
10.) No need to pay cryobanks for long term storage fees.

CONS:
1.) If the recipients freezer has an 'auto-thaw' or loses power the sperm will likely not survive temperature swings.
2.) The donor will need to ship with dry ice for long travel times to keep the donation truly frozen upon arrival. While ice packs CAN be used, they will likely result in temporary thawing and will reduce viability.
3.) Some men do not have sperm that will survive freezing! Normally at sperm banks these candidates are weaned out, but in the case of private donors a men with a great sperm count could produce a poor donation in terms of the freezing/thawing process. The only way to know is for that donor to actually look at his sperm under a microscope after a freeze/thaw test to see if a good portion survive. This is an extra step that really must be done to ensure neither the donor nor recipient are wasting each others time/money.
4.) The donor has to follow a few additional steps. These steps include
a.) The donation must be allowed to sit for 30 minutes to liquify.
b.)The donation must then be drawn through an 18 gauge needle into a syringe to help liquify and mix the donation with the CTYB. In the case of refrigerated medium this is not required, but with freezing if the CTYB and sperm are not mixed well then the anti-freeze agent does not work properly.
c.) Refrigerating the donation for 90 minutes BEFORE freezing.
d.) Finally - freezer storage
5.) The cost for the CTYB is 20% more than TYB, but can be offset when buying in bulk.

Ultimately I think the PRO's outweigh the CON's, especially for very committed donors that are willing to follow the few extra steps. Also some of the PRO's for recipients offer dramatic new options, particularly for future siblings not previously available on a private donation level.

We do have a few hundred mL of this product in stock and we still testing out more currently. If a few people would like test it out and are willing to get a microscope and follow the instructions we'll provide it at cost for a limited time in exchange for feedback and honest reviews.

PM for more info.

Thank You!

Mailsperm.com
In General
Tuesday, February 18 2014, 12:58 PM
  • slickchick
    more than a month ago
    Hi I would like to try this new form of TYB,as A recipient that uses shipping donors for AI, I want to know ,how would It be shipped to me or my donor, Id cover cost, Where can I get dry ice, is It a big bag or would it fit in styrofoam shippers Ex. babydustdelivery shipper? I am a Nurse and also have microscope If youd like I could try out and give any feedback you'd like. my email is cheetahangel67@yahoo,com -member slick chick.How much per vial are you charging? where would I get 18 gauge needle.If I use regular icepacks how long will sperm survive, until I can get it into my freezer? Then how long can I keep in my freezer until I need to use a week, month ,year? Do you ship with dry Ice or Styrofoam shipper with icepacks? sorry about so many Questions but If this works It may help me conceive faster example using more than 1-2 shipping kits with semen per month. Let me know If you want , I can try next cycle Thanks,Gina
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Responses (38)
  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, February 18 2014, 06:09 PM - #Permalink
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    MS -

    Very cool new offering, thanks for sharing! Great to see some new ideas and technologies.
    I had some thoughts & questions...


    • Is this stuff actually designed for storage temperatures around those of residential freezers, or have you found that it just happens to work well at those temperatures? I'm just wondering what application it was designed for, since the sperm banks are already set up with liquid nitrogen and the glycerol-added TYB. Is there a new process coming from the banks or clinics that will use this stuff?
    • I don't know much about dry ice. Is it easy to get and keep at home?
    • What kind of shipping container would you need to properly ship a frozen donation with dry ice?
    • Are the thawing instructions complicated for the recipient when it gets to her, or is it pretty simple?


    YVR
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  • Accepted Answer

    mailsperm
    mailsperm
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    Tuesday, February 18 2014, 06:26 PM - #Permalink
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    YVR_Samaritan wrote:

    MS -

    Very cool new offering, thanks for sharing! Great to see some new ideas and technologies.
    I had some thoughts & questions...


    • Is this stuff actually designed for storage temperatures around those of residential freezers, or have you found that it just happens to work well at those temperatures?

    • Yes it is designed for 14F storage, which typically is used at cryobanks that store in standard freezers.

      I'm just wondering what application it was designed for, since the sperm banks are already set up with liquid nitrogen and the glycerol-added TYB.

      Not all are using liquid nitrogen, but the disadvantage with a standard freezer is the longevity of the sperm is not virtually indefinite, but rather close to 10-15 years (info provided from the manufacturers rep which has received feedback from over a decade selling to embryologists and various banks across the globe)

      Is there a new process coming from the banks or clinics that will use this stuff?

      No this is a long standing technology, but not frequently used in many US cryobanks, but often smaller fertility centers.

    • I don't know much about dry ice. Is it easy to get and keep at home?

    • It can be obtained from most welding supply companies, paintball supply, hydroponics stores, some party outlets, etc.
      You can make dry ice 'snow' from any liquid CO2 tank with a straw system by buying a $50 'dry ice bag', which most carry.

      Dry ice will only keep inside an insulated box taped shut in the freezer for about a week, so it is better to buy it as you need it, or it will evaporate into a gas in your freezer.

    • What kind of shipping container would you need to properly ship a frozen donation with dry ice?

    • Standard styrofoam boxes are ideal (any Uline or similar brand where you can tape the seam shut).

    • Are the thawing instructions complicated for the recipient when it gets to her, or is it pretty simple?

    • Yes the thawing is a very easy process, and basically consists of warming it in the same way as with the refrigerated media (with the body, such as in hands).


      Thanks for the feedback, this is why I opened it to public discussion, to see concerns or possible things we may have overseen in the directions that might cause confusion.


    YVR
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, February 18 2014, 06:46 PM - #Permalink
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    Very interesting.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Sunday, February 23 2014, 03:28 PM - #Permalink
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    Very interesting indeed!

    As far as #5 on Pros

    Wouldnt it be wrong if that donor wish to stop donating to a recipient, for her to "save sperm" for an offspring, which he did not agree, consent to helping create?
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    • A_Dad
      more than a month ago
      She could also could give it to someone else the donor did not agree to help conceive.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Sunday, February 23 2014, 03:47 PM - #Permalink
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    I would be quite interested in this. I do, however, have a few questions as well.

    My first obvious question is how much would it cost? I would love to keep a few vials as 'emergency' in case a recipient schedule does something unusual and I don't have time to 'refill', but if the TYB is too expensive it won't make as much sense to do. Expense is a huge issue for using TYB to get around donation commitments.

    Similarly, how much lower would the success rate be for frozen sperm vs fresh *assuming* a donor has sperm that freezes well, and how would a donor reliably know? I know you can look under a microscope, but I don't know if i"m qualified to identify if the sperm is viable under the microscope, and if some sperm would die inevitable in the freezing process anyways how do I know how what level of 'viability' my sperm should have after freezing and what level is to low?

    How would one get a shipping container that works with dry-ice and how much sperm can one ship viably this way? It may be cost efficient to produce multiple donations and ship enough for a few months try over shipping every month?
    • mailsperm
      more than a month ago
      It is for sale on our site mailsperm.com in bulk kits for slightly more than the normal TYB, but right now if anyone on KDR is interested in testing it we are offering a five pack for $50 with shipping, insulated box, ice pack, syringe and 18 gauge needle included.

      The 'assuming a donor freezes well' is the source of the issue. Some donors will have much higher motility, mobility, and live count rates after freezing versus refrigeration at 24 hours. Others will not. The only way to know is to look under a microscope for both activity and quality counts. If after thawing you see at least 50% alive and moving you should be just fine. If it is as low as 10% or less then it is not a viable option. Any insulated box, standard uline for example is fine for dry ice. You could ship as much sperm as you'd like, assuming you have enough tyb and a large enough box. Our standard boxes would hold the equivalent of 20 x 2.5mL vials with sufficient room for adequate dry ice. Yes it is much more cost effective if shipping all at once in almost all cases.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Sunday, February 23 2014, 04:06 PM - #Permalink
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    I don't find any information on this in the literature. This 2012 review article on cryopreservation of human sperm does not mention refrigerator freezing at all:

    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/au/2012/854837/

    Are you sure you are not conflating storage temperature and the freezing process? Women using frozen sperm from cryobanks can keep the dewar in their freezer. I checked Irving Cryo and they say the storage temperature should be below -10C (14F). This is achievable in a home freezer. But a storage temperature of -10C doesn't mean that is how the sperm got to the frozen state. Under "CONS" part 4, there is step C and step D. Preparation for freezing and storage after freezing. But the freezing step itself is omitted.

    ---------------------

    Actually the storage temperature given on the Irving website (below -10C) is the storage temperature for the TYB before mixing with sperm / semen. It's not the storage temperature of the cryopreserved end product.
    • mailsperm
      more than a month ago
      Absolutely sure. We are talking about storage temperatures at 14F (normal freezer temps). Yes, this is an Irvine Sci product and it says ideal storage temp is 14F , but can be stored lower. You simply take your donation and refrigerate for 90 minutes and then place in the freezer. That's all there really is to it for dropping the temperature.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Aanand
    Aanand
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    Sunday, February 23 2014, 04:29 PM - #Permalink
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    I know that If you place 'Dry Ice' in a standard kitchen refrigerator freezing compartment, it is only a matter of days your kitchen refrigerator will get spoilt. The air is circulated within the refrigerator from the freezing compartment to the refrigerating compartment. Small particles will form inside the gas line behind the refrigerator. If you are intending to use 'Dry Ice' then get a medical grade freezer (which also helps prevent ice crystals forming up). Microscope? I think it is not an issue since you can get it from Amazon for $80. I still believe you cannot freeze sperm (considering its viability) at home unless you are doing it in a lab.
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    • A_Dad
      more than a month ago
      Women using frozen sperm do put the dewar in their freezer. The straws of frozen sperm are on a holder like a christmas tree. If they open the dewar and remove a straw very quickly they can reseal the rest. If the dewar (with the liquid nitrogen inside) is put back in the freezer, I heard they can make the whole thing last close to a week. Of course the liquid nitrogen inside the dewar is holding the temperature very low, until all the liquid nitrogen sublimates away to nitrogen gas. As longs as there is some liquid nitrogen left in the dewar it should be ok.
    • mailsperm
      more than a month ago
      Yes you are correct that dry ice will evaporate in a normal freezer, as we mentioned earlier. However this does not matter since this product is stored at normal freezer temperatures, not in dry ice or liquid nitrogen. We specifically chose this product because it does not require a dewar. Again this product should NOT be stored in dry ice, only a normal freezer for long term storage of the sperm/tyb mix. Yes you can freeze sperm at home, when using this product.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Sunday, February 23 2014, 04:39 PM - #Permalink
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    @Mailsperm can you post some links to one clinic using the home freezer method? Can you post any links to the process at all, either on the TYB manufacturer's site or elsewhere? What about stats on success rates? Links?
    • mailsperm
      more than a month ago
      http://www.irvinesci.com/uploads/technical-documentations/40680_Freezing%20Medium_90128%20Rev9_Web.pdf

      Here is a link on the product line.

      There are no online 'posted' results using this product in clinical labs. However, again the rate of success depends much on the males sperm and it's ability to survive the freeze/thaw process. In the next few weeks I'll post videos of sperm before and after cryo preservation with this method. The success rates also depend greatly on if the product is washed and inserted via IUI or normal at home AI. However this process should also have a higher success rate than normal cryobank samples sent for at home use since they typically send 1mL per vial by splitting each donation into 2-5 vials. In the case of a direct donor all 2-5mL would be sent for each attempt. Also, the possibility of using multiple donations per cycle helps increase odds.
    • A_Dad
      more than a month ago
      Thanks !

      Does the $50 trial price apply to Canada as well ?
    • mailsperm
      more than a month ago
      Nope, shipping to Canada is between $45 and $85 our cost via FedEx (Ontario versus remote parts of BC).

      Sorry but it would not just be at our cost, but result in an extra $50-$100 cost per kit.
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  • Accepted Answer

    mailsperm
    mailsperm
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    Sunday, February 23 2014, 05:16 PM - #Permalink
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    Hopefully these responses help. Again I'll work on posting updated info on the process, our instructions set, and videos of before/after samples to give an idea of what to expect.
    • rolranx
      more than a month ago
      I was just about to recommend a before/after sample :) though I think we would also need numbers on viability. such as "if your sperm is like this your success rate would likely be around x" or "your effectiveness compared to fresh will be dropped by Y if your sperm looks this good after freezing" Yes I know that's a *very* imprecise science, but even a very general rule of thumb would help.
    • mailsperm
      more than a month ago
      That is a difficult thing to quantify in such a way. However we'll try to provide something.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 25 2014, 10:23 PM - #Permalink
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    As a recipient who 1) can't find a local donor and 2) always manages to need a shipment on Sundays or Mondays, I think this product would be amazing. However, I would assume one would need to purchase a chest freezer (aka deep freezer) as most freezers are now frost free and temp cycle. Correct?
    • A_Dad
      more than a month ago
      I am not using this freezing product yet, but I was thinking about this issue and if you sandwiched the vials between two frozen ice gel packs that would buffer it from the defrost cycle in a normal freezer. Also put it on the middle rack not against one of the sides.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 26 2014, 02:33 AM - #Permalink
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    Freeze thaw issue:

    I am not using this freezing product yet, but I was thinking about this issue, and if you sandwiched the vials between two frozen ice gel packs that would buffer it from the defrost cycle in a normal freezer. Also put it on the middle rack not against one of the sides.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 26 2014, 03:33 AM - #Permalink
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    I have a better idea than the one I suggested above . . .

    You know those home ice cream makers that have a metal inner filled with a fluid with a high specific heat below freezing? Well freeze one of those and keep the vials inside that, inside your freezer. That should keep if from thawing during the freezer's defrost cycle.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 26 2014, 09:51 AM - #Permalink
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    Most rv freezers at least mine anyway are not auto defrost. I have to manually defrost it occasionally.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 26 2014, 09:55 AM - #Permalink
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    what if you took the insulated container that you are shipping it in and filled it with water then put then suspend the vials in the center of the water then froze it into a block of ice. if the container had 2 inch walls that should stay frozen for a number of days.
    • rolranx
      more than a month ago
      I tried something sort of like this (not so extreme) once. it backfired. Shipping fees are dependent on weight as well as size. The extra ice added enough weight to increase the cost pretty heavily. Wasn't really worth it, except for the hottest of summers. In either case I would go with ice packs, which manage to store more 'cold' per pound (yeah my physics teacher would cringe at that statement).
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 26 2014, 11:41 AM - #Permalink
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    Those seem like great tips! Now to find a donor that would be willing to try this method!
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 26 2014, 12:22 PM - #Permalink
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    I'll have to check the temp inside my rv freezer to see if its below the temp required.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 26 2014, 12:25 PM - #Permalink
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    I wish I had some of the medium to run some tests with to see if it will even work.
    I have a lab grade microscope and a small home lab to do it with just no medium.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, March 26 2014, 12:49 PM - #Permalink
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    Maybe PM the company? It looks like they were offering the product free to donors. Maybe they are still doing it?
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, March 28 2014, 09:17 AM - #Permalink
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    Well I checked the temp of my rv freezer which is not an auto defrost and it at -0.6 deg.
    That should be cold enough according to their parameters.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Monday, April 21 2014, 05:58 PM - #Permalink
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    I'm planning to try testing the freezing process now. I have my own microscope (because I was *that* geeky as a kid, I had a home chemistry set and a microscope!). However, I don't know what i"m looking for and youtube is surprisingly sparse on what I thought would be an easy thing to find.

    Can you provide a link to a video which might describe how one would analyze count/motility before and after freezing, as well as provide us with some numbers, even very rough ones, on what you would consider good numbers to look for post-freezing to be confident that shipped frozen sperm will be successful? the whole process is only worth undertaking if I can somehow be relatively certain I'm shipping a good 'product'.

    Thank you.


    Also, just to record it for posterity, I was already told that it is possible to produce a donation with only one day of abstinence. There would be less sperm this way, but it would be as high quality. Since it's also safe to thaw TYB multiple times it's therefore possible to produce donations even when there is only a small gap between donation commitments, one too small to fit in a 'normal' donation. Is this all accurate? if so that is another strong advantage for freezing, at least for those donors that properly wait between fresh donations.
    • A_Dad
      more than a month ago
      You need a special counting slide with tiny pits of known volume. You count the number of active sperm in several pits, take the average then scale to the total volume of the sample.
    • rolranx
      more than a month ago
      Incidentally I learned something intersting today. When trying to use a microscope make sure it's clean enough that you can make out what your looking for from all the *other* dirt on it. See this is why I gave up regular science for computer science.
    • CaliDonor
      more than a month ago
      if there are too many moving too fast to count its probably good.
      I have a lab grade microscope and can actually look at morphology also.
    • rolranx
      more than a month ago
      The count would be low, I had waited only a day after a donation to produce. I'm not worried about count anyways, I know my count is good enough. I'm worried about motility, and the affect that freezing has on motility. I think my microscope could was a large enough magnification (600x) that I could just barely make out motility. However, it's an old kids microscope and wasn't well taken care of. There is allot of other microscopic things on the lenses, and I didn't have much luck cleaning it. To be honest I'm not sure I'll be able to clean it and/or if the magnification will be sufficient even if cleaned.

      Which leaves me with a bit of a conundrum. How do I know if I can ship? I know that I did directed donation and my recipient says her doctors were pleased with the count (I presume that meant the count of *motile* sperm, since otherwise why would they care) so presumably I freeze well enough. But I can't be sure, and I can't be certain rather or not my freezer does harm to it, without a better microscope.

      Darn it, where can I rent a microscope. I'm headed to university of Maryland this weekend, I wonder if their let an old student sneak into their labs and borrow their equipment for a half hour lol.
    • A_Dad
      more than a month ago
      400x is sufficient for observing motility.

      Why don't you get the Lab Duo Microscope on amazon. It's a beginner scope of sufficient quality for observing sperm with good reviews.

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000NOU54O/ref=sr_1_1_olp?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1398223844&sr=1-1&keywords=first+lab+duo+microscope&condition=new

      Reviews: http://www.amazon.com/My-First-Lab-Duo-Scope-Microscope/product-reviews/B000NOU54O/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1
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