Airborne contamination in IVF labs
Since the birth of the first baby from in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in 1978, assisted reproductive technology (ART) has grown in importance as techniques and success rates have continued to improve. Put simply, IVF involves mixing sperm and egg in a lab to create an embryo which is then replaced in a woman's womb to develop normally with success being measured in terms of live births. All cells, including gametes (sperm and egg) and embryos (bundles of cells), are very sensitive to laboratory conditions of temperature, pressure, the composition of the medium they are handled and grown in, and also air quality. Both indoor and outdoor pollution can have a drastic impact on the embryo and the success rate of IVF. An embryo in a laboratory setting is very vulnerable to outside influences because it lacks the protection of the mother's body. This is even more significant given the trend to grow the embryo in the lab to the five days (blastocyst) stage which is thought more likely to achieve a successful pregnancy when implanted that earlier embryo. Therefore, managers of IVF labs owe it to their patients/clients to do everything possible to ensure optimal air quality.