Each month we will give a tip on how to improve your results, sourced either from the literature or our own research.

Help! Things are not working…

Trouble-shooting in the IVF lab

When your results don’t go to plan, what should you do?  There are a number of reasons why results fall away for no apparent reason.  It is frustrating, and believe me, everyone has experienced it.

The most sensible thing to do is carefully analyse what critical-to-less critical change has been made to the lab during a period. Therefore factors to consider when trouble-shooting include:

  • Calibration of the incubators (regular CO2 and temperature checks are necessary).
  • Batch of oil and plasticware/glassware which oil and media are stored or aliquoted into.
  • Introduction of volatile organic compounds, whether it be that the cleaner has changed their cleaning practice without first telling you, or changing of gas cylinders for similar reasons.
  • For media, we do not recommend aliquoting into smaller amounts, as every new container can have a residual contaminant.
  • Watch your refrigerator temperatures, especially at the back, as these can edge down to 0°C and cause freezing.  Freezing media to store is very detrimental to the stability of particular components that make up the media.
  • Equipment validation checks – including microscopes/warm stages, heating blocks and portable incubators.
  • Using different heparin sources can influence fertilization results.  The heparin levels required should be characterised for each bull using abattoir-derived cumulus-oocyte complexes.  There are lots of different heparins available, make sure your using an IVF-recommended one – we use DBL Heparin Sodium Injection BP (porcine mucous) 1mL vials 5000IU.

For more information on this month’s tip, or any trouble-shooting queries contact admin@artlabsolutions.com

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