Optimising laboratory environment for successful IVF

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Courtesy of Geotechnical Instruments (UK) Ltd

The London Women’s Clinic in Cardiff (LWC Wales) is one of ten clinics within its group which collectively provide expert fertility treatment to families across England and Wales.

When it comes to IVF and fertility treatment there is no ‘off-the-shelf’ or ‘one size fits all’ solution and, as such, the medical teams produce a bespoke fertility programme for each and every patient.  This dedicated approach has earned the clinic its leading reputation and its 69% success rate for three cycles of IVF.  To cement its status, London Women’s Clinic has invested in market leading technology from gas analyser manufacturer Geotech.

The Brief

Throughout the complex fertility processes carried out at The London Women’s Clinics, it is essential that laboratory incubators run at a consistent temperature, humidity and CO2 level to maintain optimum cell growth in embryo cultures and the In Vitro Fertilisation process.

In April 2014 the clinic’s fertility experts decided to upgrade their current incubator monitoring system.  An avant-garde solution was needed to maintain its reputation as the pioneer in egg sharing and most successful fertility clinic in Wales, as well as ensuring that the overall London Women’s Clinic brand could sustain its position at the head of the IVF field.

With embryos so sensitive to contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (VOC) and chemically active compounds (CAC), at the molecular level the clinic needed a solution that would optimise quality control of air within their incubators. Maximum results would ensure greater confidence for both clinicians and patients.

Peter Sprober, Embryologist at LWC Wales explains: “Our processes are all extremely delicate and must be managed precisely. Within our incubators we are creating a very specific environment and any change in this carefully created atmosphere can lead to the loss of embryos.

“Whilst incubators themselves have a built-in monitoring system for CO2, even the highest quality of on-board instruments can sometimes drift out of calibration, for example, as a result of intense cleaning and maintenance regimes at high temperatures.”

The Solution

As a global market leading supplier and manufacturer of gas analysers used in medical research, food processing, pharmaceuticals and IVF laboratories, Geotech was the obvious choice for The London Women’s Clinic.

Geotech’s G100 portable analyser was chosen as the most effective tool to quickly and accurately confirm the CO2, O2, humidity and temperature levels within the incubators.

Peter continues: “The G100 is an essential tool within the incubation verification process as it enables us to check that the incubators are working correctly and the settings within it are optimal.

“This model was particularly appealing as it’s equipped with an easy to read menu, making it simple and efficient to use. It’s also extremely portable which is ideal for our use within the laboratories.”

The G100 enables the embryologists to maintain a high quality environment in the incubators, contributing to better IVF outcomes and reducing both the financial and emotional cost of lost embryos.

The Impact

By monitoring the incubator conditions with the G100, the London Women’s Clinic can maximise the chances of successful fertilisation and subsequently boost the reputation and credibility of the IVF facility.

Peter says: “It’s also important for us to receive support from our suppliers when it comes to the crucial equipment that we use in our processes. Geotech offers continuous customer engagement and knowledge enrichment programmes which are extremely beneficial and add a great deal of value for us as a customer.

“I would definitely recommend the G100 to other embryologists and fertility clinics. It’s quick and simple to use, highly portable, and with proactive support from Geotech it has been a straightforward transition with minimal training needed for our medical staff.”

Future Plans

The London Women’s Clinic now has ten specialist fertility clinics operating across England and Wales with the most recent clinic having opened in Bristol.

“We are very happy with the results we have achieved in Cardiff with Geotech and we will continue to use their analysers going forward,” Peter concludes.

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