Today, I want to show you around our IVF Lab, how we have made it into a giant uterus and how one must work in it.
First, I must ask you to imagine the inside of a uterus…
How lit up is it? Well, it isn’t at all, so our lab recreates its darkness. It has always been believed that it should be like this, but I think that Assisted Reproduction is one of the medical specialties that has advanced the most in recent years and requires continuous innovation. Every day we have to spend time thinking, but without the conditioning factors that we have built up over the years. We must not take anything for granted, we must question everything. And when you ask questions, you usually get answers like this: “because it has always been done this way” or “because it has been published” or some unconvincing technical explanation. That’s why I set out to study the effects of ambient light colour in the laboratory on the results of In Vitro Fertilisation. I presented the results in a paper at the last congress of the Spanish Fertility Society. The conclusion is that the use of dim light in the laboratory is mythologised. Our study shows that we work safely with ambient light, varying the intensity and colour of the light without affecting the viability and development of gametes and embryos. So we could turn our lab into an amusement park for embryos.
What’s its fragrance? It doesn’t smell like anything. The environmental control ensures that our biologists don’t use any cosmetics or perfumes. Luckily, they’re allowed to use deodorant, though it can’t contain any alcohol or additional scent.
How warm is it? Exactly 37ºC. It counts with a constant temperature control system that supervises both the incubators’ heat and the surfaces where the cult sheets with the embryos are placed.
What do we find in the uterus? Its inner layer is known as the endometrium. Throughout the menstrual cycle it changes and prepares its surface, producing a fluid that will enable the embryo to nest. We recreate this in a fantastic way: we place these endometrial substances in our cult means.
What don’t we find? Pollution of any kind, of course. You can’t even imagine how hard this is to achieve!
Having a sterile atmosphere implies counting with lots of technology and effort. We must prevent all germ-like pollutants from entering, as well as our “special enemies”: organic volatile compounds. These chemical substances are found in paint, solvents, hairspray, cosmetics, etc, and remain in the atmosphere as vapors. They tend to stick to greasy means. Our cult means contain oils, and these substances are embryotoxic.
To access our lab, you must wear a clean uniform, hat, and shoes, and you must take all accessories off, such as a watch or makeup.
When you open the door, you’re surprised by the positive pressure. You feel a slight breeze on your face that prevents the air outside from entering the lab.
The floor is covered with a material that discharges static electricity, and, at first, your feet get stuck to its particle-absorbing rugs.
The ceiling has absolute carbon active filters that maintain the air in the room pure.
The work cabins have a CO2 and humidity concentration that are much higher than normal, since it’s how embryos like to rest. The tables are hydraulic, so when our biologists lean on them they don’t transfer their vibrations to the embryos.
By the way, cell phones don’t ring in the uterus, so they aren’t allowed our lab either. This way we prevent any damages caused by their radiofrequency.
As you can see, we treat our embryos like marquises.