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What is IVF Culture Media?

Ovation Fertility™ Nashville laboratory director Melanie Freeman, PhD explains culture media

Ovation Fertility™ Nashville laboratory director Melanie FreemanCulture media is an important part of IVF, but patients don’t often think about it. Ovation Fertility Nashville laboratory director Melanie Freeman, PhD is here to explain what culture media is and what types of culture media the Nashville fertility lab uses.

Culture media is a complex solution that’s used to support cell growth

Embryo culture media were developed to mimic the composition of oviduct and uterine fluids to closely approximate the natural environment of the developing embryo. They are composed of a basic salt solution with the addition of other components, such as carbohydrates (pyruvate, lactate, and glucose) and amino acids, which together are the main energy sources of the developing embryo.

There are two types of culture media available to support the growth of an embryo: (1) single step media and (2) sequential, or two step, media. The difference between the two types comes down to whether the culture media is changed between fertilization check and embryo transfer, or cryopreservation. Single step media is not changed, while sequential media is.

The Ovation Fertility Nashville fertility lab uses single step media for embryo culture

According to Dr. Freeman, the Ovation Fertility Nashville fertility lab uses single step media for embryo culture. After screening the available media on the market, Global from IVF Online and Continuous Single Culture, CSC, from Irvine Scientific came out as the top performers for the Nashville fertility lab. Dr. Freeman said, “This doesn’t necessarily mean they would be the best performers in another lab, but I would recommend them both to other labs.”

The Nashville fertility lab selected two brands of media culture for a reason. Although there is little variation in quality between types of culture media, sometimes embryos develop better in one type of media than in another.

However, this doesn’t often happen. Dr. Freeman said, “Usually, the embryos have about the same development in both media and we choose the best embryo(s) for transfer regardless of which media they were cultured in.”

Still, just as an insurance policy, the Nashville fertility lab splits the IVF embryos between the two types of media starting at oocyte collection.

If you want to learn more about Ovation Fertility labs, please contact us for more information.


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