Human embryology laboratory is one of the main facilities of a center of reproductive medicine. It is the place where highly complicated manipulations, which have already become common, and rather accurate calculations, and dreams are realized. Pregnancy achieved with the help of extracorporeal fertilization is always associated with a lot of guesswork made by patients themselves. Even embryologists have their own way of predicting results. However, one thing is certain: the outcome of IVF largely depends on the proper arrangement and operation of the laboratory, the right choice of techniques and materials. Taking as an example our center of reproductive medicine, we will illustrate you how a modern embryology laboratory should work, which norms should be taken into account and what guarantees of the highest rate of pregnancies achieved with IVF.
Contemporary laboratories are very advanced in comparison with those in which first attempts of extracorporeal fertilization were made. All the techniques and equipment are constantly innovated in order to enable embryologists to achieve better results. At the present moment, there are a lot of companies producing specialized equipment for IVF and media for embryo cultivation. The contemporary IVF laboratory is a set of premises equipped with specially adjusted facilities. An outcome of the treatment largely depends on the observance of all the necessary requirements.
The laboratory of Nova Clinic was specially designed both by Russian and visiting specialists from other countries, who committed themselves to design a most efficient laboratory equipped with all the necessary facilities.
· Designing and construction stage
Even slightest details of designing and construction may affect the performance of the laboratory. For example, during civil and erection works many construction materials were discarded from the list of materials to use. For embryos such materials as paint, sealant, panels, resin-bonded chipboard are toxic. And that is not all. For example, ordinary furniture, desks, filing cabinets, chairs may be toxic as well. When designing the embryology laboratory, it is very important to select materials with low toxicity, without odor and harmful components in their content which may be bad for further embryo development. All the construction materials must be preliminary tested and certified. It is highly unadvisable to put objects which might affect the development of embryos, even if these objects are put into the laboratory even for temporary storage. The great importance is given to the air-tightness and isolation of the laboratory premises, especially in the ceiling and adjacent areas. All the surfaces must be available for dusting, smooth surfaces – for wet cleaning. Some don’t pay much attention to these particularities, but from our point of view, it is highly important to take into account even the smallest details.
· Ideal building for the laboratory
For a better performance, it is very important to plan the proper arrangement of premises. For instance, the embryology room should be adjacent to the manipulation room to shorten the period in which collected egg cells are outside of the special medium. However, such an arrangement of premises may be harmful to embryo development. The matter is that the sanitary code requires that the premises for egg retrieval to be cleaned with special substances, which may have a negative effect on the development of the cells inside the incubator. To provide special conditions for the manipulation room and, especially, for the embryology room is a very complicated task demanding a comprehensive designing, as the use of certain detergents for the cleaning of the rooms may be harmful to the development of embryos. Moreover, the negative effect of such substances may be so strong that Nova Clinic prohibits the usage of chlorine disinfectants. It is indispensable to isolate the IVF procedure room from the other departments of the clinic and the other companies situated in the same building with it. The matter is that it is practically impossible to create the necessary microclimate in domestic and office buildings and hospital departments. It is highly desirable for the clinic of reproductive medicine to be situated in a separate building.
· Ventilation system
Besides the strict restrictions on the usage of disinfectants and the requirements on the special conditions, the efficient performance of the special ventilation system with positive air pressure in certain areas of the manipulation room which prevents harmful particles from penetrating in the embryo cultivation area is very important. The ventilation system is crucial in providing the required microclimate in the embryology laboratory: special cleaning units clean the air from small particles and microorganisms, creating the lock-through effect for dirty air in the passages. The requirement that complicates the installation of the air cleaning system in the embryology laboratory is ultraviolet light which may affect extracorporeal fertilization.
· Requirements for cleaning
The requirements for the cleaning of the laboratory are very high, which puts strict restrictions on the admission to it. Even the staff of the medical center is not allowed to enter without the embryologist’s permission. Before entering in the laboratory the embryologist changes his clothes and shoes and steps on the aseptic carpets absorbing small particles. Unfortunately, such requirements are not observed in all centers. Sometimes they are impossible to observe. Nova Clinic exerts strict control on the clean conditions of the embryology laboratory, which is commonly believed to be an effort-consuming, but a great contribution to its efficiency.
A well-equipped embryology laboratory in a center of reproductive medicine is the commitment of the embryologists applying contemporary and efficient techniques by means of high-tech equipment and media, and observing all the requires and norms of performance.