Lab incubator?
1 Replies
teacher-ttc - August 15

Can you explain what the triple incubator is? When would it be used? And why? Our RE is suggesting for our next IVF cycle that triple incubation is used for the entire time the embryos are in the lab.

Thanks.

 

Dr Smith - August 15

While making their way down the Fallopian tubes, embryos are exposed to a very low level of oxygen - around 5%. If the embryos are incubated in a standard incubator (5% carbon dioxide, CO2, in room air), the oxygen level is about 20%. Embryos can undergo oxidative stress (a fancy way of saying that there is too much oxygen around the embryos) and the embryos can become excessively fragmented, divide slowly or die outright. Even knowing this, most programs continue to incubate embryos in room air (go figure?). There are many papers showing the advantage of culturing embryos under low oxygen conditions. I guess some people get stuck in their ways.

And now to answer your question. A tri-gas incubator provides a low level of oxygen (5%) and the correct CO2 concentration (5%) and 90% nitrogen (hence "tri-gas"). This gas mixture more closely imitates what the embryos see in the Fallopian tubes. Using tri-gas incubators reduces oxidative stress and results in better quality embryos with better developmental potential. I have used tri-gas incubators for over 10 years and love them! In my lab, we grow all embryos to the blastocyst stage. I don't believe we could achieve this if it weren't for the tri-gas mixture (and a few other tricks I keep up my sleve...).

 

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