Why IVF labs are important to fertility treatment success

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Laboratory quality is the foundation of every IVF program. So, we believe it’s really important for you to understand what to look for in an IVF laboratory when choosing a clinic. 

Firstly, what is an IVF (or embryology) laboratory?

The laboratory (or lab) is where fertilisation of the sperm and oocytes (or eggs) occurs by assisted reproductive technology (or ART), known as either IVF or ICSI.  It’s also where the embryos will be carefully monitored and cultured up to the time of transfer or freezing/vitrification.  Because fertilisation, embryo growth and development are dependent on the lab, quite simply, it can make or break the success of a cycle.  

Here, we share 5 tips on how you can separate an average from an excellent lab.

1.An excellent lab has a highly experienced and qualified scientific director and embryology team

You want the embryologists who handle your oocytes (eggs), sperm, and embryos in the lab to hold higher degrees such as a Masters or PhD, be committed to continuous professional development and to keep up to date with the latest innovative advances in the field.  You want the scientific director to hold a PhD and be a leader in the field.

2.An excellent lab uses the latest scientific processes and protocols, underpinned by research

The way embryos are handled, incubated, and stored has a huge impact on how they will develop. Your embryology lab should have strict protocols to cover everything that takes place.  You want a lab that is committed to conducting their own research and learning from the latest advances around the world to improve their processes.

3.An excellent lab has the latest available state of the art equipment

Assisted reproductive technologies (or ART) require highly specialised and extremely sophisticated pieces of biomedical equipment. A well-equipped lab will have several types of powerful microscopes, state-of-the-art embryo incubators, and IVF micro-tools. You want a lab that has funds available to reinvest and purchase the latest equipment. 

4.An excellent lab sources high quality supplies from around the world

Everything that comes in contact with oocytes (or eggs), sperm and embryos has the potential to impact upon them.  So, the quality of every product and material must be meticulously controlled to ensure excellence and consistency is assured.  You want a lab that is committed to sourcing the best supplies from around the world. 

5.An excellent lab has a high-quality air filtration system installed

The air quality in the lab has a huge impact on the health and viability of embryos. Contaminants can be toxic, and common impurities in the air such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), microbes or even perfumes can harm an embryo’s development.  You want a lab that high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters installed, together with active carbon and permanganate filters for the reduction of VOCs.

All content should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have. 

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