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Laboratory Techniques

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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.

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.

  • Fertile®

    A patented microfluidic chip compatible with ICSI used to isolate high-quality sperm in accordance with certain health markers.

  • 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.

  • Gavi®: Automated Vitrification

    The next generation of vitrification technology that standardises the procedure to produce consistently superior results in egg quality and post-thaw survival.

  • 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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