VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds
Products within the Laboratory
At Ovation Fertility Austin, we recognize the importance of maintaining high standards for our laboratory as well as for our patients. Another potential source of air contamination is from the materials used to build the lab. Counters and cabinets that are made from plywood or pressed board will exude fumes that are deadly to embryos. Paints for walls and ceilings and glues for flooring, trim and counter tops can be extremely toxic to embryos for years after their installment. Knowing that these are sources of toxins, Ovation Fertility Austin chose to have the ceiling and walls constructed of safe materials and painted with a special paint that off-gassed any toxins quickly and completely before embryos were placed within the lab. In addition, the floors were constructed with safe materials and sealed with a special adhesive that is water-based and off-gases toxins quickly.
Cabinets are made from metal that does not off-gas and the counter tops are constructed of a non-toxic resin that also does not off-gas any fumes. All of these precautions have eliminated any source of chemical contaminants from the lab construction itself. The supplies that IVF laboratories use to grow embryos in can also be a source of toxic chemicals if not properly off-gassed before they are used. The embryologists have a routine of taking the plastics from their packaging and placing them in an area where they can get rid of the styrene and other organic molecules that are emitted from them due to their manufacturing process. In addition, all of the plastics that are to be used for embryos or for their media within the lab are tested by the embryologists for the presence of toxins before they are used for the IVF procedure.
The equipment that is used during the IVF process must provide an optimum environment for embryos while they are growing in the lab. While the embryos are within the incubators a proper environment is provided by a controlled temperature and gas mixture. The gas levels and temperature of each incubator are checked daily. The removal of the embryos from the incubator and placement on the microscope for examination is performed only when absolutely necessary. While the embryos are out of the incubators they are placed on surfaces that are heated to body temperature just like the incubators. Their time out of the incubator is for a minimal time and the air quality within the room prevents their exposure to air borne toxins. The importance of the culture system and how it is used to maximize growth cannot be overstated.