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How to prepare dishes for optimal osmolality during embryo culture

In the IVF lab we basically do the same things every day. Often performed on a very tight schedule and not all that interesting but still must be done with care, as everything which concerns patients. Preparation of dishes is one of those very important things that at least I find time consuming and slightly boring. Dish preparation is commonly done several times a day: perhaps in the morning for ICSI, during mid-day for sperm insemination of oocytes and most common, in the late afternoon as part of the preparations for next day. How do we prepare dishes? And how should we do it?

How to save time and secure good results in vitrification [webinar recording]

Vitrification has in recent years become the cryopreservation method of choice, with high survival rates and developmental potential of oocytes and embryos similar to fresh ones. Yet there are challenges to overcome, both for the oocyte and embryo and for the embryologist. In this recorded webinar Dr. Ann-Helene Jakobsson will give you insight into how to succeed with vitrification. 

Maintaining correct temperature in the culture system [customer story]

“Maintaining the correct temperature is a critical environmental factor for gametes and embryos and needs to be carefully monitored. You must be aware of confounders as hot and cold spots on warming plates, laminar hood or ventilation flows and open or closed lid to ensure a safe working temperature”, says Jan Gunst, clinical embryologist at the public IVF clinic at AZ Sint-Jan in Bruges, Belgium. Watch his story here.

Thoughts and reflections from ESHRE 2017

 

This year, Geneva was the place to be when participating in the annual meeting of ESHRE. Similar to previous years, professionals from all over the world gathered to present or listen to the latest scientific developments in the field of assisted reproduction as well as to meet with colleagues. 

How to improve workflow efficiency and maximise clinical outcomes in your IVF clinic [recorded symposium]

During the Vitrolife Scientific Symposium at ESHRE 2017, we had the pleasure of listening to three international experts in the field of human IVF sharing their experience in laboratory management, morphokinetics and cryobiology. We are confident that information from these presentations will assist you in not only in improving your workflow, but will help you to maximise the success of each cycle of IVF performed.

Time-lapse and PGS – better together [webinar recording]

Many clinics have seen the benefit of making time-lapse a standard of care for their patients. The same is true for Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS). The fact that there are two such widely implemented techniques has created some questions about which new technology will offer the best treatment options for improving clinical outcome. In this webinar Dr. Tine Qvistgaard Kajhøj shows how time-lapse and PGS can be used together to offer the best overall possibility for improving outcomes and clinical workflow.

Practical considerations when introducing PGS in your IVF clinic

 

Almost three decades ago, preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) was applied clinically for the first time by pioneers like Alan Handyside in the UK and Yuri Verlinsky in the US. Still, introducing this procedure can be a challenge. In this blog post you will get a practical guidance of what to consider when introducing PGS in your IVF clinic.

Good fertilisation rates require high quality sperm

 

Correct assessment of a semen sample is mandatory for diagnosis of infertility. During preliminary assessment as well as during potential later treatment, the appropriate selection procedure should result in a clean fraction of progressive motile functional sperm cells. This blog post will discuss different alternatives for sperm selection.

Our best tips & tricks for successful vitrification

 

Vitrification and warming are operator dependent techniques. You need skilled embryologists with attention to detail to obtain high survival rates. Every IVF lab has its own ways of working to achieve optimal success. In this blog post we share tips and tricks we have learned from visiting labs around the world when providing support and troubleshooting on vitrification.

Why hyaluronan is an invaluable molecule for embryo implantation

Hyaluronic acid, also called hyaluronan, is a glycosaminoglycan distributed widely throughout our body. It is particularly abundant in the female reproductive tract, both in the oviduct and the uterus, which makes hyaluronan an important molecule for applications in assisted reproduction. In this blog I will focus on the role of hyaluronan in the process of embryo implantation.

Help your patients understand their treatment using time-lapse images

The use of time-lapse technology in IVF has in many parts of the world become a standard of care. The benefits are many, including the ability to communicate with patients about their treatments. A recent study aimed to find out how the patients value to view time-lapse sequences of their embryos at the time of embryo transfer. 

How heparin is used during oocyte pick-up [survey results]

 
The routine use of follicle flushing during oocyte pick-up varies a lot between clinics. If flushing is used, there are many alternative solutions. At Vitrolife we are constantly working to improve our products and services and one way of doing this is to get a better understanding of user behaviour during certain procedures. We were interested in the use of heparin during flushing and sent a survey to the IVF community. Here is the result.

Oxygen: Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?

Oxygen, the very gas that we depend on for life, is largely responsible for our ageing, demise and ultimately our death. Professor David K Gardner considers this paradox in his blog post.

Considerations for embryo culture at high altitude

There are many differences between Stockholm, Denver and Lhasa. One of them is the need for different CO2 settings in the IVF lab, due to different altitudes. In this blog post Dr. Markus Montag gives advice on how to ensure successful embryo culture at high altitude. 

Recap from ASRM 2016 

Another ASRM is over with lots of interesting new science presented. As always the programme covered a large variety of topics. In this blog I will highlight some of the studies and sessions which I found of particular interest.

Which temperature is optimal for vitrification and why?

For decades we have employed slow freezing of gametes and embryos and performed the dehydration and rehydration steps at room temperature with results which until recently were considered satisfactory. Today, vitrification is the cryopreservation method of choice in many clinics and alternative protocols are available. Different manufacturers of vitrification products have different recommendations regarding procedure temperature, commonly either room temperature or 37⁰C, but which is the optimal temperature for vitrification and why? This blog post will give you insight.

The language of embryology is evolving – a guide to understanding time-lapse nomenclature

New assessment methods call for new assessment measures. Having a common nomenclature can form the basis for clearer communication of embryo assessment and evaluation. The nomenclature described in this blog post is what we have found to facilitate ease of agreement and understanding between time-lapse users.

Reducing time to live birth by optimising culture conditions

A successful IVF treatment is a pregnancy that results in the birth of a healthy child. Many aspects are discussed in order to raise pregnancy rates. An increasingly important parameter to reflect a successful IVF program in today's world of IVF is the time to pregnancy and live birth. In this blog post I will go through some of the critical steps in the IVF procedure and how they can be optimised.

Thoughts and reflections from ESHRE 2016

Once again we can look back on the biggest event in the IVF community - the Annual Meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. More than 10 000 people gathered in Helsinki, Finland to gain new scientific information, meet with colleagues and friends as well as explore the exhibit for new products and technologies. As usual, the scientific program is a mix of invited sessions, free communications, posters and sponsored activities. In this blog post we will make an attempt to summarise our reflections from this year’s ESHRE.

This is how you use annotations in your time-lapse software [results from survey]



In connection to a recent post on the benefits of consistent annotation we invited readers to take a short survey on the use of annotations in their time-lapse software. Thanks to all of you who answered – here are the results.

What happens when culture media gets warm or cold during transport?

Culture media for IVF can go out of specification during transport for different reasons. This may be detrimental to the product, but not always. In this blog post I will explain what happens to the media when it gets too warm or too cold.

Why you should only use IVF certified plastics

The success of an IVF treatment depends on numerous factors. The patients and the causes of their infertility, the hormone stimulation regimen, culture media, quality and maintenance of equipment and skills of staff are all factors that will influence the outcome. One important factor that can have a detrimental impact on the IVF treatment outcome, but is sometimes overlooked, is the quality of the plastic equipment. 

Recap from the 2016 Alpha conference

The 11th Alpha Biennial Congress took place in the beginning of May. Vitrolife was present, together with around 400 participants. If you were not there, this blog post will give you a short recap and the opportunity to watch our Scientific Symposium "Time-lapse for improved overall IVF". 

Is it safe to aliquot IVF media?

A question we often get from clinics is for how long time an opened bottle can be used. And if it is possible to aliquot and use the medium until expiry date. In this blog post I make an attempt to answer these and other related questions on safe usage of media.

This is why consistent annotation is the basis for improved embryo evaluation

 

Do you recognise the feeling of rush-hours in the lab? Do you find yourself not always being completely sure how to score an embryo because you have to make a fast decision? Time is precious and time is your friend when you are a time-lapse user.
The aspect of time is the essential reason why embryo evaluation with time-lapse has several advantages over static-based evaluation. In this blog post I will highlight why annotation is your key to success.

Do you know the characteristics of the perfect oil for IVF?

Perfect oil for IVF should do nothing but protect the culture. It should not have any negative influence on the gametes, embryos or media by adding unwanted or removing necessary components. However not all oils are or act the same. In this blog post I will guide you through different types of oil and things to consider when choosing oil for your IVF culture.

How to ensure embryo viability in your culture system

Successful outcomes in IVF require optimal environmental conditions for gametes and embryos throughout the entire cycle. This can be accomplished by ensuring optimal pH and temperature in the incubators, and that the air in the operating theater and the laboratory is clean and free of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). An additional step is to ensure that media and contact materials used, support embryo development by being embryo safe and free from toxicity. In this blog post I will guide you through the basics for how to prevent toxicity from entering your culture system. 

Using PGS and time-lapse in synergy will enhance your decision making

Embryo viability after transfer depends on the embryo itself, the environment in which it has been before transfer and the uterine environment into which it is transferred to. Picking out the embryo(s) most likely to be viable is the goal of any embryo selection process. Both time-lapse and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) are well established methods for enhancing the chance of transferring a viable embryo. In this blog post I will describe how using them together can enhance your decision making.

Time-lapse technology triggers new requirements on embryo culture media

The access to time-lapse technology has given a unique possibility to balance metabolic stress against less handling stress during embryo culture. In this blog post I will describe different culture media strategies and the rationale for using specific media for specific applications.

Temperature measurements and temperature control in the IVF lab are crucial for your results

It is common practice to maintain a temperature of 37 oC during all working and culture conditions in the IVF laboratory. This will allow for an optimal environment for the handling and culture of gametes and embryos. In this blog post I will explain why temperature control in the IVF lab is crucial, what equipment to be measured, when to measure and what to do with the results.  

A tribute to Peter Mazur – a pioneer in cryobiology

Photo: Knoxville News Sentinel 

It is with much sadness that we report the passing of Peter Mazur on December 30, 2015. Peter Mazur was a great scientist who contributed enormously to the current knowledge of cryobiology. Cryopreservation of cells and tissues has become important in not only human reproduction, but also in many other areas of medicine.

Are PGS and PGD here to stay? This is what the IVF community thinks

Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) is a procedure designed to examine embryos for chromosomal abnormalities with the aim of de-selecting embryos with low implantation potential. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) refers to genetic diagnosis of embryos prior to transfer in cases with a known inherited disorder. Vitrolife has conducted a survey within the IVF community to determine how wide spread the use of these procedures actually is in the everyday routines. The results will be shared in this blog post.

How clean is the air in your IVF lab?

The quality of air within an IVF lab will inevitably affect embryonic development and therefore has a critical impact on IVF success. Our guest blogger Giles Palmer is a senior clinical embryologist and Director of Assisted Conception Unit at Mitera Hospital in Greece. He has supported many IVF labs in improving the air quality. In this blog post he shares his valuable recommendations on how to secure the air quality in your IVF lab.

Do’s and don’ts in clinical studies

 

Can you tell the difference between a validation and a clinical study? Do you know what to consider when starting a randomised controlled trial? Being author or co-author on more than 60 peer reviewed papers I have a keen interest in current regulation regarding clinical studies and will share some of my experience on conducting clinical studies in this blog post. I hope I will be able to help you sort out some of the many variables related to clinical studies and what you need to consider.

Three ways to optimise the egg collection procedure

Egg collection is one of the most important steps in the IVF treatment and could also be one of the most difficult. An optimal egg collection should give the maximum amount of undamaged eggs, in a short period of time, with as little pain and anxiety as possible for the patient. Dr. Göran Westlander is the Medical Director at Fertilitetscentrum, a private IVF-clinic in Sweden. In this blog post he shares his experience on how the egg collection procedure can be optimised. 

Thoughts and reflections from ASRM 2015

ASRM – the American Society for Reproductive Medicine took place in Baltimore, USA at the end of October. Together, the Vitrolife team covered most of the scientific sessions. The programme as always covered a large variety of topics. The continued interest in the use of time-lapse in the IVF clinic was particularly evident. In this blog post we share some of the highlights in our view.

Social Egg Freezing: why, who and when?

Is so called social freezing, the ability to freeze a woman´s unfertilised egg, a controversial service or a revolution for women? Dr. Valérie Vernaeve, Medical Director at Eugin Clinic in Spain, has positive experience of helping women this way in her clinic. In this blog post she shares her experience and research on the relatively new phenomenon social freezing.

Does slowfreezing still have a role in cryopreservation in assisted reproduction?

Associated Professor David Edgar is the scientific director at Melbourne IVF in Australia, with extensive experience in the field of assisted reproduction. One of his focus areas is how to optimise the ability of embryos to survive cryopreservation. In this blog post he discusses the question about the role of slowfreezing in assisted reproduction.

How to secure your culture system when introducing a new type of culture media

Temperature, pH and osmolality are some of the most important parameters to take into account during In Vitro embryo culture. In any good quality management system these parameters, amongst others, should be monitored and regulated on a regular basis to ensure optimal culture conditions are maintained. In this blog post I will specifically highlight the importance of pH and its relation to CO2 measurements for successful results in IVF.

Vitrolife Grant awarded to Nordic scientists for project “Novel methods of assessing human embryo viability”

Drs Kirstine Kirkegaard, Thorir Hardarsson and Aisling Ahlström

How a decision support tool based on known implantation data can enhance embryo selection

With the introduction of time-lapse technology, the field of assisted reproduction takes a leap forward. Time-lapse monitoring systems present a significant step in improving IVF treatment on all levels. Time-lapse technology introduces new opportunities in the clinic for improved workflow, quality control and communication between embryologists, clinicians and patients.
But most importantly, time-lapse has developed into a powerful and well-proven method for ensuring undisturbed culture of embryos, while providing invaluable detailed insight into embryo development. With this, time-lapse allows more informed decisions in embryo selection compared to conventional microscopy. In this blog post, I will discuss how a decision support tool can help you enhance your embryo selection from the information obtained with time-lapse imaging. 

Thoughts and reflections from ESHRE 2015

Once again we have visited ESHRE, the annual meeting for European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, the biggest event in the field of IVF. Together, the Vitrolife team covered most of the sessions and listened to many interesting and sometimes provoking presentations. In this blog post we will share some of our thoughts from this year’s meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Scientific Presentations (and how to avoid them)

As ESHRE is approaching, you may be getting your presentations ready. With up to 10,000 people expected to attend, how do you make your talk stand out? By making it memorable, engaging and informative. John Clare has helped thousands of physicians and researchers prepare for presentations just like this. In this blog post he will share his most important tips for how to make your presentation memorable.

Welcome to the Vitrolife blog!

Why a blog?

Our world today is on-line. We see this as an opportunity of fast and transparent communication and believe a blog is a unique way of sharing our knowledge, experience and to create a dialogue. A blog post is a perfect format for topics to be discussed, analysed and shared. We have a great deal that we would like to share with you, and we also look forward to you sharing your knowledge with us.

Embryoglue... is it really a glue?

Recent news articles have featured happy couples describing their joy of becoming parents with the help of a special “glue”. The question however is if EmbryoGlue is a magic glue or how does it actually work? 

How you can benefit from Time-lapse in IVF

Some people consider the appearance of time-lapse technology in the field of IVF a huge step forward while others dismiss it as “a hype”. Personally I am convinced about the value of using time-lapse in IVF and to me the benefits are obvious. In this blog post I will highlight and discuss some of the benefits with time-lapse.

Succeed with vitrification - 3 factors that will influence your result

 
Vitrification has in the recent years become the cryopreservation method of choice in many IVF-clinics. With survival rates superior to slow freezing and developmental potential of oocytes and embryos similar to fresh ones, results similar to fresh oocytes and embryos can be obtained. To continuously achieve these high survival rates there are matters to think about. In this blog post I will discuss some important factors.

Does your clinic conform with EU safety directives? Our products do.

 
Vitrolife was the first company to have all its IVF products CE marked. So you can be sure our products fulfil the toughest demands on health and safety. Our core values are quality, safety and efficacy – and we invest a great deal of time and effort in meeting regulatory demands.

The importance of manufacturing and quality control for high quality product performance

Quality is the #1 value at Vitrolife and is totally integrated in the organisation. The company was founded on the idea that high and consistent product quality improves the take-home baby rates for our customers.

Vitrolife is committed to improving pregnancy rates. This is why we provide an unbroken chain of quality products, securing the results in every step during the whole IVF-treatment. Only Vitrolife can guarantee every link in this chain. With equally devoted clinics we reach success. Together. All the way.