Cutting-Edge Infertility Labs
Solving the various fertility problems our patients deal with requires excellent physicians and staff, the newest medical technology and outstanding laboratory processes and facilities. We are particularly proud of our laboratory, which is at the heart of most of our successful advanced infertility treatments. Our patients benefit from:
- World-class in vitro fertilization laboratory
- Highly purified, chemically scrubbed air for embryo incubation
- Access to time-lapse technology
- Pregnancy-proven egg freezing
- Continuous research
- Low-oxygen embryo culture
- Newest equipment and technologies
- On site, same-day hormone laboratory
- World-renowned lab director
- Dedicated, board-certified and experienced embryologists.
With these benefits, our laboratory ensures that our patients receive the most advanced care, at the lowest possible cost. Because of the investment in the laboratory, patients can count on the best possible success rates consistently without mistakes, regardless of season or month of the year.
The Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine laboratory is conveniently located at the intersection of Highway 121 and Dallas North Tollway, within 30 minutes from most locations in the DFW metroplex. We are just two miles north of Plano and only 30 minutes from the DFW International Airport.
The Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Our state-certified and nationally-accredited surgery and imaging center and accredited assisted reproductive laboratories perform all diagnostic and treatment procedures at one location.
With some of the most modern equipment available and a technologically advanced air-purification system to sustain in vitro embryos, our facility was designed to consistently give couples the best chance to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Cleaner air inside FIRM
The laboratories of the Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine operate in some of the cleanest air in the United States, enabling consistently excellent pregnancy rates without unexpected variation. The standards we maintain by far exceed the recommendations by the world governing bodies on assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as:
- The College of American Pathologists
- The European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology Guidelines for Good Practice in IVF Laboratories
- The European Commission Directive on technical requirements for the coding, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells
- The European Guide to Good Manufacturing Practices
- The American Society for Reproductive Medicine Guidelines for Human Embryology and Andrology Laboratories.
The IVF laboratory is at the heart of the successful outcome of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment cycle. It is here where eggs are exposed to the sperm and the resulting embryos are safeguarded and incubated for up to six days.
The IVF laboratory contains computerized, low-oxygen incubators to keep the embryos at exactly the right temperature, humidity and also to precisely control the acidity level of the culture media. All embryos at Frisco IVF are cultured in reduced oxygen, similar to the oxygen concentration in the mother’s womb. Research performed in our laboratory and published in Human Reproduction have shown that when embryos are cultured under these low-oxygen conditions, more girl embryos survive, resulting in higher pregnancy rates and more babies born.
Time-lapse embryo evaluation
One of our IVF lab’s newest cutting edge technologies is time-lapse assisted embryo culture. Normally, embryos are removed from the incubators once per day to obtain a snapshot of embryo development. Frisco IVF is currently the only IVF lab in Texas—and one of a few in the country—to offer time-lapse-assisted embryo selection utilizing computer-controlled microscopes. Embryos are cultured in the EmbryoScope®, a special incubator in which a computer take a low-light-intensity picture every 5 minutes or less for the 6 days of embryo culture.
Now instead of getting a snapshot of embryo development once every second day, a continuous video of embryo development can be observed, without even opening the incubator one single time. Furthermore, patients can be provided with a dynamic video of their embryos’ development from fertilization all the way to the time of embryo transfer, rather than just having a one-time static picture.
Embryologists now have access to the minute-by-minute development of the embryo, can determine the duration of critical cleavage events and are able to evaluate rates and synchronicity of cell division. As an additional benefit, embryo growth can be observed from the laboratory director’s office computer or even from home.
With this information readily at hand, it is possible to identify embryos with the poorest chance of success and to observe temporal events that make the embryo more prone to genetic incompetency (e.g., direct cleavage, multi-nucleation and reverse cleavage). Not interrupting the delicate embryo culture environment for 6 days and being able to more accurately identify superior embryos for transfer and cryopreservation provide a distinct advantage for patients undergoing treatment at Frisco IVF. You can read more about time-lapse embryo culture and the EmbryoScope® on our blog or you can visit Vitrolife.com.
The EmbryoScope at FIRM
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a way to assist with male-factor infertility where a sperm is injected directly into an egg. Because of the delicate movements and expertise necessary to perform this microscopic task, ICSI is performed using micromanipulators and a high-powered microscope that floats on air cylinders to minimize vibration. The first ICSI baby was only born in 1992. Since then, ICSI has ensured that even couples with severe male factor infertility now have the same chance for a healthy pregnancy as couples without male factor.
The quality of the air in the IVF laboratory is extremely important to consistently ensure the best possible live-birth outcomes when performing in vitro fertilization. Without the purest air, IVF laboratories may frequently experience “unexplained” drops in the pregnancy rates.
We are not only concerned about microbial contamination of embryo cultures, but even more so about air pollutants, such as exhaust fumes from urban traffic. What we can smell in the air is what the embryos have to taste and grow in. Microscopic embryos do not yet have kidneys or livers that can protect them from tiny concentrations of chemical toxins in laboratory air.
Many in vitro fertilization laboratories filter the air for small particles through standard hospital operating room bacterial filters, such as the one in the picture below. Unfortunately, this is not enough, as chemical pollutants in the air (e.g. vehicle emissions) are at least 1,000 times smaller than the size of the pores in these filters.
We have installed very specialized air-pollution filtration systems (called air scrubbers) for the IVF laboratories and operating rooms at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars to ensure that the embryos are exposed only to the purest air possible. These systems not only remove microscopic particles, but also remove the much smaller chemical compounds through non-specific absorption and specific chemical elimination reactions.
To obtain specific targets for laboratory temperature, humidity and ultra clean air, such a system must contain at least the components summarized in the picture below:
Furthermore, for such an air system to obtain these targets, the following design requirements must be met:
- A customized, dedicated air-handling system specifically for the embryology laboratories.
- No mixing of laboratory air with the general office air.
- A special, raised-air intake to insure the cleanest air to begin with.
- Extremely accurate air temperature and humidity control.
- Filtration of all laboratory air through dedicated air scrubbers containing potent scrubbing substances, such as activated carbon and sodium permanganate.
When undergoing treatment at the Frisco Institute for Reproductive Medicine, our patients also have access to the CAP-accredited, high-complexity andrology laboratory that deals specifically with male infertility issues.
The andrology laboratory will perform advanced semen analyses, including detailed counts, stained morphology assessments and other specialized tests as indicated in order to determine the presence and/or extent of male factor infertility. An accurate evaluation of male fertility is critical to assist the couple and the infertility specialist to select the most cost-efficient and successful infertility treatment. The andrology laboratory also prepares samples for intrauterine insemination, IVF and ICSI.
The concentrations of reproductive hormones in the blood, such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), beta human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (βhCG), progesterone, estradiol, prolactin, DHEAS and thyroid hormones, may provide vital information that can be essential to diagnose the cause(s) of infertility and assist to eventually help achieve a healthy pregnancy.
When managing infertility, such a specialized on-site hormone laboratory is essential for the following reasons:
- We can access test results within 1-2 hours after the blood sample was drawn, allowing real-time decisions for fertility treatment.
- We can rerun test results when in question, or repeat tests with more accurate dilutions when required for pregnancy tests, as well as for monitoring of critical IUI and IVF stimulated cycles. Additional tests can be added within minutes.
- The analyzing equipment can be calibrated and optimized for fertility testing. For example, estradiol levels for non-fertility patients never rise higher than a few hundred pg/ml, whereas, someone on fertility treatment may have levels that frequently measure in the thousands.
- Tests from different days, such as when tracking a response to a stimulation with fertility drugs or the progress of a pregnancy, can be compared with each other far more accurately since they were run on the same equipment and most often by the same laboratory personnel.