For most people, amino acids are synonymous with protein and DNA synthesis and their ability to act as substrates for energy production, and relatively little else. Over the past two decades however we have developed a very different appreciation for amino acids and the highly diverse roles they play in regulating embryo physiology. Here their functions (beyond body building!) are considered, and how their supplementation to embryo culture media has contributed significantly to the increase in IVF success rates worldwide.
Different assisted fertilisation methods were developed and implemented in the field of IVF during 1980-1990. Out of these methods, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is the most successful method developed1 and is considered to be one of the major breakthroughs in this field since the birth of Louise Brown in 1978. While assisted fertilisation techniques, including ICSI, were introduced to overcome fertilisation failure in cases of severe male infertility, ICSI is today used in > 60 % of all IVF cycles globally.2
ICSI has frequently been described as 'an accident' in the lab. For me, being part of the development of the ICSI technique, I would rather describe ICSI as an inevitable consequence of the procedure used to perform subzonal insemination. The aim of this blog is, however, not to cover the history of ICSI but rather to focus on aspects that support successful ICSI in the IVF laboratory.
It has been 20 years since Prof. Gardner’s team first published on the effects of hyaluronan (also known as hyaluronic acid) on preimplantation embryo culture and transfer, and so this is a poignant time to reflect on the role of this remarkable macromolecule in assisted reproduction.
It has been 20 years since my team first published on the effects of hyaluronan (also known as hyaluronic acid) on preimplantation embryo culture and transfer1, and so this is a poignant time to reflect on the role of this remarkable macromolecule in assisted reproduction.
Human serum albumin (HSA) is a protein, which is purified from human blood and is commonly used in cell and tissue culture media, including media for human gametes and embryos. The role of albumin in culture media is diverse and not always fully understood. In this blog post, I will describe the role of albumin and what the big deal is for its use in IVF laboratories.
The human embryo is extremely sensitive to stress and surrounding factors. In fact the embryonic stage is the most sensitive stage of the whole life cycle. This is why it is particularly important to use safe and non-toxic products during gamete handling and embryo culture. In this recorded webinar Dr. Christer Silversand will show how you can create optimal culture conditions by understanding the importance of extensive quality testing and using an unbroken chain of quality products.
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?
“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.
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.