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Laboratory Techniques

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    Gynem Fertility Clinic

Laboratory Techniques

The arena perhaps most critical to the success of in vitro fertilisation and, by extension, to the egg donation process, is the laboratory. This significance applies not only to the embryologists who carry out the delicate and highly-precise processes of fertilisation, cryopreservation, and embryo culture, but also to the tools, equipment, and methods at their disposal.

 

Sperm Selection Methods - ICSI, PICSI, IMSI and MACS

Whilst the foregoing methods provide extremely useful data, they reveal only a partial picture of overall sperm quality. ICSI, IMSI, MACS and PICSI help gauge morphology and maturity and avoid using those sperm programmed for destruction by the body, but they do not enable accurate detection of aneuploidy (chromosomal abnormality) or any other genetic disorder.

 

Beyond the typical lab techniques employed in standard IVF protocols, scientific advancements have now yielded additional and powerful means to supplement the essential work of the lab and to help realise the hopes of couples trying to conceive. Below is an overview of a number of these methods, all of which are available to the Gynem Fertility Clinic lab.

  • EmbryoScope®

    An incubator featuring time-lapse photography that allows undisturbed embryo culture and provides detailed data to help embryologists choose the best embryo for transfer.

  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

    A sperm selection technique in which a single, morphologically-sound sperm is injected directly into the egg.

  • Physiological Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (PICSI)

    An extension of ICSI in which a sperm bearing a hyaluronan-specific receptor—an indicator of maturity and DNA integrity—is injected directly into the egg.

  • Intracytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection (IMSI)

    A technique for illuminating structures in the head of sperm called vacuoles, so those sperm with larger such structures can be isolated and the complications they cause avoided.

  • Magnetic-activated Cell Sorting (MACS)

    A technique for separating inferior sperm marked for destruction by the body from healthier members of the cell population.

  • Laser Assisted Hatching (LAH)

    A technique for facilitating the embryo hatching process to help ensure successful implantation after transfer.

  • EmbryoGlue®

    An implantation-enhancing agent that contains high amounts of recombinant human albumin and hyaluronic acid, which occur naturally in the female reproductive tract.

  • EmbryoGen®

    A culture medium containing naturally-occurring growth factors that help trigger a positive immune response and create a culture environment similar to conditions in the uterus.

  • Endometrial Scratch

    An intentional, but mild ‘scratching’ of the uterine lining that may cause the release of chemicals, immune cells, hormones, and growth factors favourable to implantation.

  • Vitrification

    The most modern method of cryopreservation—a ‘fast-freeze’ technique employing liquid nitrogen to quickly lower the temperature of eggs and embryos.

  • Preimplantation Genetic Screening / Diagnosis (PGS / PGD)

    Two methods for assessing the genetic make-up of embryos, so that one free from defects may be preferentially chosen for transfer.

  • Intralipid®

    A fat emulsion and calorie source, administered intravenously, that helps downregulate natural killer (NK) cells.

  • Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA) and Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE)

    Two procedures for overcoming male infertility, involving the surgical collection of living, motile sperm when none is present in ejaculate.

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