How can a laboratory affect the chances of achieving a pregnancy in an Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) laboratory?
Since the pioneering work of Drs. Edward and Steptoe culminated in the birth of Louise Brown, humans have been conceived and nurtured in laboratories. The amazing work of these pioneers resulted in the procedures know as in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is one option for infertile couples desiring to start a family. Since 1978 our knowledge has grown exponentially. There are now over 1,000,000 plus babies conceived through this process. The drugs used to promote egg production have improved, as have the techniques of transferring embryos back into mothers. The systems used to culture the embryos have also advanced markedly. Today we can culture the embryos for 5 days allowing for improved embryo selection leading to higher pregnancy rates. However, the next aspect receiving attention is the environment of the ART laboratory. Laboratories that are poorly designed and maintained can lead to low rates of pregnancy due to embryotoxic materials in the environment. The laboratory where embr