Session 23 - Lab Planning: Q&A
Questions for Giles Palmer
- Dara Berger: What do high levels of VOC affect first and most in an embryology lab? I.e. fertilization, embryo utilization, pregnancy/biochemical rate, or something else?
- Liesl Nel-Themaat: What is the biggest generator of VOCs in the lab that can be easily eliminated? What about cosmetics and pens/markers? -
- Dara Berger: Do VOCs need to be monitored in an andrology lab? Are sperm freezes or IUIs affected by high VOC rates?
- David Morroll: What equipment should be used to measure VOCs and how easy is it to test individual VOCs?
- Dr Debajani Mahapatra: How does the incubator generate VOC inside an ivf lab..?
- Georgi Doychev: What is the cheapest way to measure VOCs in the lab?
- Giles: The cheapest way perhaps is paper chromatography badges. These badges are exposed to the air for a certain length of time then sealed, sent to be analysed. These sensor monitors are available in the form of “badges” that are worn by the employee during a sampling period. There’s no liquid or metal mechanics involved in ACS badge sampling, so the process is not cumbersome at all. As for how the badge works, there is a microporous membrane that chemical vapors pass through. Under the membrane are special adsorbents that collect the vapors at a fixed rate. After that there are handheld VOC monitors but you pay for what you get. They do not read ppB only ppM but may be useful. Thirdly you can employ a chemical engineer to evaluate the site periodically
Questions for Chip Calcagni
- Jc: how often should the client (embryologist/ manager) be there during the construction?
- Jc: How efficient is it to hire a ‘regular’ architect? Someone without any medical lab or OR experience?
- Dara Berger: How long after the space has been completed can the architect continue to help, what are reasonable expectations?
- Chip: It’s important at the time of signing the initial proposal that they include full project construction observation services. You empower the Architect’s position to make on-site decisions by having the Architect approve all payments to the builder. The Architect should stay on for final approval by Regulatory Agencies. It is also worth the little extra money to have a post site review to go over issues encountered in operations and get layout suggestions and identify potential improvements.
- Jc: Can an architect oversee the construction phase?
- Chip: It is critical to have the architect perform site inspections on a regular basis during construction. The Architect is part of the quality control team to ensure that proper materials are being used, layouts maintained and clean construction processes employed.
- Liesl: Would you put the cryo-room directly opening into the IVF lab?
- Chip: If the Cryo Storage area is kept clean by placing all LN2 cylinders outside in an adjoining closet, and storage dewars are kept within the clean parts of the facility, then yes it’s advisable to have the two functions connected. Some people prefer doors separating the functions which can allow the cryo storage room to act as a pressure equalizing vestibule, while others prefer an opening directly into the lab. Under both circumstances the cryo room should have highly filtered air delivered to it. The issue of the proper size of that storage area becomes a cost concern, as it adds additional load to the air handler and makes the air handler larger. Balancing this cost against room size for increasing embryo, oocyte and sperm frozen storage space needs presents a challenge. Soon automated freezing machines with tracking devices tied to the EMR and reliable offsite biorepositories will make the need for large storage areas unnecessary. Taken in this light, it seems an attached vitrified sample storage area will always be useful for short term stays, and should it become redundant, can be repurposed for genetic research and manipulation later on.
Questions for Tucker Matthews
- Fernando J Prados Mondéjar: How can carbon filters be analysed for exhaustion to know how often they should be replaced?
- Anabella Marconetto: could you explain the special cares in the HVAC duct build? to avoid VOCs later.
- Dr. Vikash Verma: How effective is SecureAire ‘specifically’ for particles less than 0.3 microns?
- Tucker: The majority of particle data on SecureAire Technology directly measures performance at the 0.35 micron particle level due to limitations on today’s in-room particle counting technology. However, SecureAire has been tested to effectively remove odors and dissolved gases including CO and CO2, which are on a molecular level and much smaller than 0.35 microns. It is through this data that SecureAire understands that if you have the ability to control particles at the 0.35 micron size, all other airborne contaminants, regardless of size, will follow the same reduction and removal trend.
- Fernando J Prados Mondéjar: Can you avoid carbon filters to dry up too much the air inside the laboratory?
- Tucker: While carbon filters absorb moisture under certain conditions, it is important to consider adding a humidifier to the HVAC system to maintain the relative humidity inside the laboratory above a minimum threshold. This is especially important in cooler climates, where without a humidifier installed, relative humidity within the laboratory will be very low on cold days. Additionally, an appropriate quantity of fresh air should be introduced into the HVAC system.
- Mohammed Ali Rida: How can I calculate the capacity of the air filter regarding the ivf lab size
- It is best to keep air velocity over a filter at below 500 feet per minute (less than 300 preferred to extend filter life.
- James Kontio: What is the recommended interval for recertification of your HVAC system - complete pressurization and leak assessment for clean room? Also do you recommend HEPA filter replacement on a time schedule?
- It is recommended by ISO to recertify cleanrooms every 12 months. HEPA filter replacement can be done on a time schedule, but the most economical way is to measure air pressure drop across the HEPA filter and change them when the air pressure reaches a certain threshold. This threshold will be dependent on the filter and the filter velocity. A cost analysis can be performed to determine the most economical pressure drop to change filters at. Longer durations in between filter change outs equate to more fan energy required to push air through a dirty filter.
- Reda Mahfouz: Excellent point for Sperm preparation area improvements... the question on QCs .. What are the best recommended QCs for early in IVF lab start up?
- Liesl: Can noise or music affect embryos? Should we stop listening to Rock music in the lab?
- Vibration may be good so as long as it doesn't distract the embryologists in working it should be fine.
- Thomas Elliot: When planning the lab how important is lighting, both natural and electrical. What are the best sources of light? What wavelength?
- Lighting is very important and always you should always have it housed in its own sealed fitting.
Natural light is good but you should have spectral filters on the windows to avoid harmful UV light and association with ROS.getting in ( and also heat aspect in good weather).
Wavelength? Avoid 300-400nm
- Ferhath Unnisa: what kind of lights should be used in ivf lab (similar question).
- Ferhath Unnisa: how much positive pressure you advise in ivf lab.
- 38-50pa but See Cairo Consensus but this may depend on if you have an Anteroom or air shower prior to the lab.
- Dee Kini: What about the LED lampa in the lab?
- Better as does not emit heat...beware of wavelength though (see above)
- Pentti Koivisto: do you have a separate space, room for vitrification or you do it in the ivf lab?
- NO just as long as there is room to work efficiciet;y and undisturbed..you may wish to have an ambient plate to noy work at 37C in some stages.
- Feras AlNahhal: Do you think their shelf life for the incubator ?
- Please always check manufactures instructions - it is less than you think. You may find that after this time the company may not service the equipment OR find from the regulatory body that it is out of warranty and cannot be used. Minc eg was 7 now 12yrs.