As the Techniques of Assisted Reproduction are applied worldwide, many manufactures produce a wide range of special equipment for IVF performance. Here are some main facilities of our laboratory.
•IVF work station
All the manipulations with egg cells and embryos are performed with the help of a special IVF work station which protects them from external effects and maintains the adequate temperature of the working surface. Nova Clinic uses the equipment produced by a Dutch manufacturer K-Systems: a high tech safety cabinet which ensures a good preservation of the biological properties of the biomaterial. Cabinets of this kind consist of a bench, a microscope and a large working space for the embryologist to perform manipulations with embryos and egg cells. Working at the safety cabinet the embryologist selects egg cells and fertilizes them with sperm in a “test tube”. Though the safety cabinet preserves the biomaterial and maintains the required conditions, the time of manipulations should not be long as oocytes and embryos are better preserved in special conditions created by incubators.
The quality of embryos created in vitro depends on embryo cultivation process which, in its turn, depends on the performance of an incubator in which the cultivation is done. Incubators create the necessary conditions for embryo cultivation with a special mixture of gases and media, in which embryos are put, in order to make these conditions similar to those inside the organism of a pregnant woman. It is very important to maintain the required conditions because even a slightest change of the gas percentage and the temperature may be harmful to embryo development. The air in the incubator is humid and is constantly agitated. Ingoing air is put to multistage treatment. Besides the maintenance of the required level of gas and temperature values there is another important issue of embryo cultivation process. It is the maintenance of the constant conditions inside the incubator. For example, the more manipulations with embryos and the incubator are performed, the less stable the conditions inside the camera. The laboratory of Nova Clinic is equipped with special incubators which quickly restore their values. It is another advantage which contributes to embryo cultivation process.
Nova Clinic disposes of all the widely-used types of incubators which create the necessary conditions for embryo development with the help of different modes. It is crucial for the embryologist to have the necessary set of instruments available in order to create the required conditions for each of the embryos at each stage of its development.
•Microscopes and manipulators
One of the crucial and fundamental techniques applied by fertility specialists is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). A strong recommendation to this procedure is the reduction of sperm fertility. If the embryologist is not sure that the retrieved egg cells can be successfully fertilized in vitro, the only technique that can guarantee the positive result is ICSI. For a good performance it is indispensable to have a research microscope of high class which facilitates manipulations made with small needles and holders. The positive result also depends on the performance of the equipment which makes it possible to perform manipulations with high accuracy and efficiency. Nova Clinic uses microscopes specially designed by a Japan manufacturer Narishige and Olympus. The microscopes are equipped with a special heating table which maintains the conditions necessary for embryos to exist outside of the incubator and a laser for an efficient and safe hatching and prenatal genetic diagnosis.
One of the techniques indispensable to an efficient functioning of a modern center of reproductive medicine is biomaterial cryoconservation. This technique makes it possible for fertility specialists and embryologists to perform various manipulations: suspend an embryo transfer, if some medical complications arise at the moment of the transfer; increase the possibility of achieving a pregnancy after only one hormonal stimulation, preserve the remaining embryos for successive attempts, cryoconserve sperm, cryoconserve the gametes of the spouses affected by oncological disease before they undergo a course of chemotherapy. We can offer these options to our customers as our laboratory has a special department dealing with biomaterial cryopreservation. It is equipped with cryopreservation systems produced by an American company TaylorWharton. The systems are filled with liquid nitrogen and equipped with a system of registration and storage of information. They maintain the constant level of liquid nitrogen and are divided into separate cameras according to the type of cryoconserved material. Not every type of biomaterial is good for cryoconservation. Usually, embryologists freeze embryos and sperm. Unfortunately, oocytes are not very cryoconservable. If it is necessary to cryoconserve egg cells, it is recommended to retrieve them, fertilize them with sperm and cryoconserve the created embryos instead of cryconserving the egg cells.
There are different types of cryoconservation. Cryoconservation is a substitution of cellular tissues, which may damage the structure of the cell when frozen, with special cells called “cryoprotectors”; after that embryos and sperm are put to a deep freezing. There are various techniques of it. One of the techniques which is widely used by IVF medical centers is that of programmable freezing. In a special tube a computer-controlled cryoconservation procedure is performed in some stages. However, with the development of vitrification many embryologists have achieved fairly good results. The only disadvantage of this technique is its cost. At the present moment our medical center performs all cryoconservation procedures with the help of the vitrification technique. Because of the high cost of the technique and used materials some laboratories create their own media for cryoconservation. But the approach of our clinic to cryoconservation remains the same – we use only the certified media of a Japanese company Kitazato. Thawed biomaterial has very good properties: practically all the thawed cells are good to fertilize.