So, we made the move and we are now well into our third round of IVF cycles in the new building. I am sure that you have all noticed that the hatchway from the procedure rooms to the IVF laboratory has a glass window in it by now. I am also sure that there are some of you that have tried to peek through and see what happens in there. Well, it is a little different to the old laboratory that we had, but I am so happy with the way that it has all turned out – the planning stage paid off and we have a top notch space that flows very well.
We have got brand new incubators that are totally state of the art and make sure that your embryos are very happy while they stay with us – consider it a 5 star hotel for the first few days of their life! There are 3 incubators and each of them has 4 separate drawers in them that allow us to totally segregate the embryos to further make sure that what starts off as yours ends up as yours.
The temperature and gas control for them is very precise and each drawer has a very small air space around it as well. That allows the temperature and gas concentrations to be very strictly maintained – even when we open and close them to remove your embryos to work on them. That really is a bonus over the old style large incubators which would often take much longer to regain both temperature and gas concentration after use.
So, we have better incubators and a lot more space in the lab, but what else is new in there? The air exchange system is also an upgrade over the last facility and the whole design of the room has been designed around taking care of your precious embryos. There has been a lot of attention to detail put into making sure none of the components has a high level of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) in it. That basically means that none of the paint, flooring or fixtures is smelly! VOC’s are chemicals that are released from a lot of things – the real world is full of them as they are emitted as gases from a huge number of solids or liquids. Just think of the smell that you get when you open a new TV, paint a wall or buy new furniture. With that in mind we did reuse a lot of the old furniture – good for the environment as well as the embryos!
The lights are low in there as well – it is not too good for the embryos to be exposed to too much light and we do like to pander to all their needs. The be honest I don’t like it too bright in there either as I have never worked in a bright lab in my life (22 years this April) and my first lab was very dark so it makes me feel at home. They also don’t like to have too many temperature fluctuations at all so we have carefully heated work stations everywhere and the room is kept nice and toasty too.
There is also an anteroom leading into the IVF laboratory – kind of like and air lock in space (it makes me feel cool to call it that) which helps to keep the room very clean and away from anything that might act as contamination from the real world. Add sticky mats on the floor in front of the door and there you have a really clean space. We also have a keypad door entry system to make sure that only authorized staff are allowed back there – which also makes it a really good place to go and hide at the end of a busy day as no-one else can get in!