Safety & Security in the IVF Lab

We are privileged that you have placed your trust in us and we take that responsibility seriously.

We have many checks and balances in place to ensure accuracy and safety at all stages of the process:

ORM Donor

Sperm

  • Sperm samples are prepared onsite at ORM for IUI, IVF and sperm freezing.
  • When you produce a sample here at ORM, we make sure you are who you say you are by asking for picture ID. Then we ask you to write your own name on the sample cup into which you will produce the semen sample.
  • Once the sample is received in the lab, two witnesses make sure that the name on your sample cup matches the name on the sperm preparation tube. The sample remains in the same sample preparation tube that two people have witnessed for the entire time it is in the lab.

Freezing sperm:

When we freeze sperm, we label each vial with your name, date of birth and date of freeze. Two witnesses check that the name and date of birth on the sperm production cup match the name and date of birth on the labelled vials.

Thawing sperm:

Before thawing sperm, two witnesses check that the name and date of birth on the sperm vial matches the name and date of birth on the sperm preparation tube.

Intrauterine Insemination

  • 1. Once the sperm is prepared for insemination, it remains in its own dedicated area in the andrology lab until the time of insemination.
  • 2. The medical assistant or nurse collects the sample from the lab and signs the sample log to state that your sample has been removed and by whom.
  • 3. Once inside the exam room, the clinician will request that the patient state their name and birth date, the partner’s name and birth date, as well as the sperm provider’s donor number or name (if indicated).
  • 4. The clinician will show the sample to the patient to confirm the identifying information.
  • 5. Once the patient has correctly identified themselves and the sample, a consent form will be signed by the patient confirming the specimen is theirs.
  • 6. The clinician will proceed with insemination once the form has been signed by the patient.

Eggs

Egg Collection

  • When you have your egg retrieval done at ORM, your identity is confirmed by you. The surgery team attaches an ID band to your wrist before you go into surgery for the procedure.
  • Once in the procedure room, your ID is checked by the embryologist and surgery team.
  • The dish that will receive the eggs in the lab is labelled with your name and date of birth and witnessed by two staff members.

Freezing Eggs:

  • If you have elected to freeze eggs, we label each freezing device with a label stating your name, date of birth, date of freeze and how many eggs on the device. These labels are checked for accuracy by two witnesses.
  • Two witnesses also check that the name and date of birth on the dish containing the eggs is the same as the name and date of birth on the freezing labels.

Thawing Eggs:

  • Before thawing eggs, two witnesses check that the thaw plan in your chart is clearly understood and that the name and date of birth on the freezing device matches the name and date of birth on the witness sheet and the culture dish receiving the eggs.

Putting Sperm & Eggs Together

  • Whether we are performing standard insemination or ICSI, we will put the sperm and eggs together on the day of the egg collection or egg thaw.
  • When this happens, two embryologists witness that the correct sperm is being placed with the correct eggs.

Embryos

Growing Embryos Safely

Embryos are grown in incubators which mimic the conditions found inside the female body. These incubators ensure that ideal consistent environmental conditions are maintained to achieve successful embryo growth.

Incubators are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. If a parameter falls outside the normal range, an alarm is triggered and the system automatically contacts an embryology team member, regardless of time of day so any issue can be rectified in a timely manner. The alarm relay system is checked every day to make sure the alarm and the notification process works.

Incubators rely on electricity to function. All of our incubators are attached to an automatic back-up power generator in case of a power failure. The generator is tested weekly to make sure it is functioning. We also have a secondary back-up power supply for the incubators that is on site and always available.

Freezing Embryos:

  • When we freeze embryos, we label each freezing device with a label stating your name, date of birth, date of freeze and what is contained on the device. These labels are checked for accuracy by two witnesses.
  • Two witnesses also check that the name and date of birth on the dish containing the embryos is the same as the name and date of birth on the freezing labels.

Thawing Embryos:

  • Before thawing embryos, two witnesses check that the thaw plan in your chart is clearly understood and that the name and date of birth on the freezing device matches the name and date of birth on the transfer dish.

Embryo Transfer:

  • When you have an embryo transfer at ORM, your identity is confirmed by you when you arrive at the clinic. The surgery team attaches an ID band to your wrist before you go into the procedure room.
  • Once in the procedure room your ID is checked by the embryologist and surgery team.
  • The dish containing the embryo(s) for transfer in the lab is labelled with your name and date of birth and witnessed by two staff members before the transfer.
  • If we are performing a frozen embryo transfer, the labels from the freezing device are also checked by two witnesses again at the time of transfer.

Sperm, Egg & Embryo Storage

Sperm, eggs and embryos are frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen.

The tanks in which we store our embryos, eggs and sperm resemble very large thermos flasks. They have a vacuum insulated wall and are specially designed to contain liquid nitrogen. They are not powered by electricity and therefore a power outage will not affect the tanks.

ORM has two alarm systems that monitor the security of the lab and the temperature of every one of our storage tanks, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. If an alarm is triggered, the system automatically contacts an embryology member, regardless of time of day so that any issue can be rectified before the samples are in danger. The alarm relay system is checked every day to make sure the alarm and the notification process works.

We keep all of our storage tanks within the secure lab space under the watchful eye of our highly trained embryology staff. We also visually inspect each tank daily to make sure that all is well.

Questions?

Additional Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of our storage system please email Alison Coates, our lab director. She will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Alison Coates, PHD Embryology Laboratory Director

Alison Coates, PhD

Embryology Laboratory Director

Email Alison