The next time you’re sitting in your IVF lab, take a careful look around the room. Look at the clean surfaces and equipment, and the lab technicians carefully following protocols to provide an optimal, consistent lab environment conducive to embryogenesis. Your clinical staff and lab are taking precautions and following strict laboratory practices (GLP) with acceptable pregnancy rates. What could be wrong? As you’re looking around the room, you’re actually looking past one of the most important variables with the potential to influence your laboratory’s results. In fact, you’re literally looking right through it. Any guesses?
Air. That’s right. The ambient air in your lab—clean though you think it may be—may actually be adversely affecting your clinical pregnancy rates to a significant degree.
While you’re looking around your lab, why not take a quick glance out the window. Do you see any road resurfacing on the street below? How about rooftop resurfacing or construction in a nearby building? What about auto exhaust from idling ambulances or traffic? Nearby restaurants spreading burnt oil fumes? Smoke from nearby fires: building fires, tire fires, forest fires. Seasonal pollutants—the list goes on and on.
“About a block to the south of us a restaurant had a fire. You could see the big plumes of smoke. This is a very scary thing. An unanticipated problem that could have dramatically affected our results and yet it did not because we have this system in place. The air from the LifeAire system was completely clean and pristine.” Dr. Randy Morris, Medical Director, Naperville Fertility Center
But why be concerned about those outside elements? Because many of the pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi), allergens (bacteria, mold), and toxins (endotoxins, mycotoxins) present in those sources are making their way into your lab, and it’s a bad list when it comes to the sensitive environment your patients’ embryos require to maximize their genetic potential, full of toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including:
- Ketones, aldehydes, nitriles from disturbed soil in construction
- Formaldehyde, acetone, methane, methylene chloride from pressed board and wood in building materials
- Toluene and styrene from cement foundations and fresh asphalt, road resurfacing
- Sulphur dioxide, formaldehyde, nitrogen, ethylene from car, ambulance, and medivac exhaust
- Polyaromatic hydrocarbons from the fat burning fast food restaurant down the street
- Alkenes, benzene, toluene, methane, formaldehyde from your own facility’s generator exhaust
- Carbon tetrachloride, chloroform (and much more) from the pesticides being sprayed to kill the bugs in the building next door
- Acetone, diethyl keytone, ethanol, and several interesting biologicals and microbials shedding off your lab staff themselves
Now, look up. Hiding above your ceiling is almost certainly an HVAC system that is humming away providing conditioned air and a positive pressure environment for your lab—likely scrubbed with a series of carbon, potassium permanganate and HEPA filters. So, you’re covered, right? You’ve taken the best precautions, right? Well, not necessarily. You may not be providing the best protection available for your patients’ embryos towards successful embryogenesis Many of the threats we’ve outlined are getting past your filters and remediation approach.
How? In simple terms, the nature of these various contaminants is such that each requires a different remediation approach to stop it from entering your lab. In other words, they can’t all be captured by a HEPA filter or stopped by UV light. You need a blend of strategies that together combine to capture, kill, filter, etc. and leave you with pure air—as high as 99.99% pure in a single pass solution—that finally is clean enough to provide significant protection and contribute to achieving the highest level clinical outcomes for your patients.
And by the way, even if you culture under oil, use tabletop incubators, time-lapse imaging, etc.—VOCs can still enter your media and adversely affect your embryos. If oil soluble, VOCs can easily enter the oil overlay. If water soluble, the media. Once present in the media or oil, the VOCS may have an intimately adverse impact on your culture environment and thus become a permanent threat to your embryos.
Look to the Future
So, why should you be concerned? Because the difference between off-the-shelf remediation and purpose-built IVF-sensitive remediation is a potentially significant improvement in clinical pregnancy rates. We know this because we’ve been running studies and analysis for years to clinically measure and prove the impact of proper remediation among IVF programs throughout the country (the type LifeAire has brought to the IVF industry). We have the science and the clinical results to prove it. If you’re interested, let us know—we’re happy to share the details with you.
A clinical study using data from LifeAire Systems’ protected IVF facilities shows an average of 14.8 percentage points increase in ongoing pregnancy rates, as reported in 2014 in Fertility and Sterility. As more facilities adopt LifeAire Systems technology and report results, the latest data show an average of 19.7 percentage points increase in ongoing pregnancy rates* following system installation. (As defined by positive fetal heartbeat per intrauterine sac. Data is inclusive of all maternal ages, 3,535 cycles and 7,733 embryos transferred.)
The best chance of removing contaminants from your IVF lab’s air—and therefore contributing to a more pure environment that leads to industry-leading pregnancy and live-birth rates—is a multi-faceted approach to remediation that is a purposed and proprietary blend of advance filtration mechanisms that combine several air purification approaches to deliver the airborne metrics defined optimal for successful embryogenesis and to result in the highest quality air possible and, in turn, maximize clinical outcomes.
But This is Only for New Construction, Right?
No. In fact, most of our focus is on helping established labs and clinics retrofit our solution into their facilities with minimal time, cost and disruption.
Look at the Results
Organizations like UCSF Medical Center, Stanford University Medical Center, Northwestern University Medical Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, and University of Iowa Hospital have all chosen to upgrade or install their air purification approach—and are benefiting from the decision. In fact, the top 3 clinics with the highest live-birth rates in the US for patients under the age of 35 are using a system from LifeAire. Carolinas Fertility Institute in Winston-Salem, Gold Coast IVF in Long Island and The Center for Reproductive Medicine in Mobile, AL were SART’s top-rated clinics. All three facilities use the transformational technology offered by LifeAire.
“Unbelievable–the difference in the pregnancy rates. And the quality of our embryos–fantastic, beautiful.” Suzanne Degelos, Ph.D., Laboratory Director, The Center for Reproductive Medicine
The LifeAire Systems in-duct air purification device is a patented air purifier that was designed by an embryologist for the benefit of the developing embryo. The technology provides rigorous air purification of volatile organic compounds, airborne pathogens, and microscopic particles, in contrast to more common HEPA filters that filter air but do not provide comprehensive molecular destruction of biological and chemical contaminants. Incorporated into both new construction and retrofit opportunities, LifeAire Systems have been shown to improve clinical outcomes at IVF facilities across the U.S., Canada and in China. For more information about LifeAire’s air purification solutions, please visit LifeAire.com.