Simulating the conditions in the uterus. IVF laboratory controls

Simulating the conditions in the uterus. IVF laboratory controls

Specific management and quality control systems are key factors in increasing success rates at in vitro fertilisation laboratories (IVF laboratories).

Since 2006, all Instituto Bernabeu clinics have adhered to official international ISO 9001 quality management system standards. Furthermore, since 2015, they have implemented the specific UNE 179007-2013 Spanish standard for quality management at assisted reproduction laboratories.

These certifications guarantee that andrology, embryology and cryopreservation laboratories meet levels of excellence in:

  • facilities and teams of technicians
  • management
  • transparency
  • process traceability

Appropriate management of these systems ensures thorough controls and safety across all activities. This leads to improved quality in the healthcare given to patients undergoing assisted reproduction treatment at our clinics.

All our IVF laboratories must have stable environmental conditions that replicate physiological conditions as closely as possible to ensure viability of oocytes, spermatozoa and embryos. It is the reason why laboratory staff work in an environment with certain very concrete characteristics such as:

  • decreased intensity of lights
  • stable room temperature and humidity levels
  • positive pressure, which stops air and particles from other rooms from entering
  • heated surfaces

Air quality and controls

We perform routine pH checks on culture media and volatile organic compound (VOC) measurements, which are parameters that can affect embryo development. In order to decrease the presence of these compounds in the laboratory, embryologists do not use perfumes, deodorants, make-up, nail polish and harsh cleaning products. 

Individual incubators for each patient

With the aim of improving embryo development, all Instituto Bernabeu branches have installed new time-lapse incubators in which the embryos from each patient are individually monitored 24 hours a day. This means that embryologists can assess embryo development without having to remove them from the incubator, avoiding handling and exposure to light and simulating the conditions inside the mother. Furthermore, if there are any changes to temperature levels and/or gases such as CO2 and O2, the incubators have an alarm system to inform us so that steps to avoid side-effects can be taken. In short, through appropriate management of these quality controls and use of avant-garde equipment in an treatment-friendly environment, we aim to simulate the conditions in the mother’s uterus and favour development of the embryo throughout assisted reproduction treatment.

Nuria Ruiz, Biologist at Instituto Bernabeu

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