The ability of a reproductive health practice depends not only on the skill of the clinical team from the doctor and embryologist to the nursing staff and modern pharmaceuticals but also on the IVF lab. A properly designed and operated IVF laboratory is a critical factor and has a significant impact on the probability of going home with a healthy child.
Mother is the gold standard for human reproduction. Not only does she generate the eggs but, after fertilization, she has a number of methods to nurture the embryo. Besides providing nutrition and oxygen, she performs other functions. The ability to grow an embryo in the modern IVF lab is a tribute to the robustness of the embryo. Mother also can protect the growing embryo from toxic materials in the environment.
The newly fertilized embryo is just starting to express its genetic information, the cells are rapidly dividing. The mother embryo combination has several mechanisms to protect the embryo. The mother’s liver will detoxify many of these toxic materials. Her kidneys will excrete the wastes. The lungs can also act as an excretory mechanism. Traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF) labs often lack a control mechanism to protect the embryo. These labs tend to be less productive compared to modern, state of the art facilities.
When we decided to move into a new facility last year it gave us the opportunity to completely redesign our IVF lab from the ground up. This attention to detail allowed us to achieve levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are remarkably low compared to what would be seen in older practices. How is this done you ask? We now have the ability to incorporate a detoxification system into modern laboratories that removes many of these potential toxic agents.
The laboratory is designed as an isolated series of rooms. The air supplied is filtered and also passed through a large robust chemical filter using activated carbon and potassium permanganate. The heating and ventilation system is designed and built to a high standard and scrupulously cleaned. The materials in the lab are also carefully selected so they don’t off gas (release) any toxic materials.
One such example is the material found in most homes. You know it as Formica. It is made of particle board which is held together by formaldehyde glue. The formaldehyde is used to preserve medical specimens and embalm bodies. Obviously formaldehyde is highly toxic to the naked embryo. All of the materials in the embryology lab have a very low potential of releasing a contaminant. The lab is positively pressurized. The rooms are sealed so that they are physically isolated reducing the level of organics.
There is a final special feature of this lab. It was rigorously tested and cleaned with special cleaners. As a result, the air in the facility is uniquely clean. The average traditional lab has over 3,000 plus micrograms of potentially toxic materials. This is based upon the pioneering work of Dr. Jacques Cohen. The contaminants range from formaldehyde, chlorinated hydrocarbon, benzene, styrens and many others, which are potential estrogen disrupters. We dramatically reduce these agents. A recent independent, third party testing of our new lab resulted in no detectable levels of volatile organic compounds!
Our lab is state of the art, and provides a level of cleanliness that is unmatched by any other lab in the area. This is just one example of our commitment to excellence. A commitment to provide all of our patients with the best possible chances of success.
None of this comes cheap. Despite this, we have the best and most affordable financial programs available. Our IVF witness program, a RFID system that electronically tracks all patient samples during IUIs and IVF treatments, is another example where no expense was spared to ensure the utmost peace of mind of our patients. If we positioned ourselves as the cheapest program in the area, none of what you just read would be possible. Remember, small is good, but with cheap… well you get what you pay for.